Elebate4 mar.praterbring1 in Parliament.
1. IRISH DISTURBANCES BILL. Mr. CHARLES BULLER., on Mon- day, opened the debate on the order of the day for the second reading of this bill. He objected to the personal and angry discussion into which many members had deviated, instead of adhering to a considera- tion of the evidence by which the momentous and perilous bill before them was attempted to be justified. There was a declared hostility to Mr. O'Connell, to which he more especially objected. He thought the support which Ministers received on this occasion from the Con- servatives a very suspicious circumstance.
He did not mean to taunt the members of the Government with their speeches on former occasions ; but he thought it would have its effect t ut of doors, when it was seen that the majority for placing Ireland under military govern- ment was swollen by the names of the member for Taruworth (who said be re- luctantly supported the measure), and other members whose polities agreed with his—persons who said " Aye" to the Six Acts, but said " No" to the Reform Bill.
He thought the evidence adduced by the supporters cf the bill, meagre, and not to the point. Be was not present when Sir Robert Peel told the story of the murder in Clare, which appeared to make so great an impression on the House ; but what bad it to do with the passing of the Lill now before them ? It could only be said that it was a horrible murder. Horrible murders happened in every coun- try, and could not be prevented ; and the only thing that could be done to pre- vent their recurrence was to punish the offenders, as was done in tl at case. He saw no reason, if that murder were brought as an argument for tl:e passing of the present bill, why the murders committal by Burke and Hare in Scotland, and by Williams and Bishop in London, should not be brought fora and as argu- ments in favour of a similar measure in England. But such arbitrary measures would not prevent murder in either country.
He denied the connexion between 'medial and political agitation, and attributed the turbulence and outrages of the Irish to the misconduct of the landlords and the Government—to oppressive measures, high rents, and contracts broken. He concluded by moving an amendment to the effect " That this House learns, with regret, the disorders which distinct Ireland ; and while willing to intrust his Majesty with such powers as will enable him to afford protection to the persons and property of his Majesty's Irish subjects, and for the due administration of justice in that country, yet they are not prepared to accede to the extreme measures now proposed by his Majesty's Government for the suppression of these disorders."
Mr. HAWKINS seconded the amendment. He was aware that the disturbed state of Ireland was such as to require additional exertions on the part of Government ; and additional powers to a certain extent he was willing to give.
But he arraigned the measures contemplated in this bill, both on the score of policy and humanity ; and before such a bill, involving an actual suspension of the constitution, and temporary establishment of arbitrary power, should be al- lowed to pass, the people should be fully convinced that these powers were really called for, and that if granted they would be applied to a proper purpose.
He said that in England there was scarcely one man out of a thou- sand, or in Ireland one man out of a hundred thousand, who did not translate the heading of the bill into a Bill for the Suppression of O'Connell." One great object to be effected by the bill was to put an end to the intimidation of Jurors and the witnesses. He must confess, that as regarded evidence, they had taken the bull by the horns; for they would have plenty of evidence, true or false, when the punishment for non-appearance was three months' imprisonment. He recommended the Ministry to try the effect of milder measures for six or twelve months ; and then, if such proved insufficient for the suppression of outrages, the House would grant them more extensive powers.
Lord Moneerit admitted that the bill was arbitrary, despotic, severe, and cruel ; but maintained, that it nevertheless ought to be passed, to meet the urgent necessities of the case, which he thought Ministers had fully made out. With regard to Poor-laws, he said, that perhaps they ought to be given to Ireland; he had nothing to say against them at that time, and perhaps he might have much to say in their favour on some future occasion ; but he should be sorry to tell the people of Kil- kenny to wait for protection until Government could concoct a Poor- law for Ireland.
Mr. BLACKNEY said, that the accounts given by Lord Duncannon, the Lord-Lieutenant of Carlow, of the outrages in that county, were much exaggerated.
Carlow had been quiet till the Whitefeet had penetrated into it. The police and the country gentlemen did not prevent them. They came from the neigh- bouring counties till they reached the river, and they did not care one farthing for the river which took them over the bridge. ( Great laughter.) He then entreated the House to pay attention to his statements ; for he could most seriously assure the members, that no one speech which had been delivered during the debate would be found equal in knowledge and judgment to the one which he would deliver. As an instance of the manner in which petty offences in Carlow were exag- gerated into dreadful crimes, lie would mention, that a person, accused by one Ann Magee, had been represented as the perpetrator of a most horrible outrage, because he had scooped out the eyes of a blind horse. (Immense laughter for some time.) He begged leave to correct himself—one eye was quite blind (Shouts of laughter), and the other eye was little better. ( Continued peals. ) He related an instance of the mode in which the power of making domiciliary visits was executed by the troops and police in 1798.
A magistrate headed a party of police to search for arms in the house of a respectable farmer. Although the farmer told them that his young wife had just been confined with her first child (Laughter), they entered the very bed- room in which she was, turned over all the linen, and indecently tumbled the bed, from which she had been assisted by her maid-servant. (Laughter.) This was no subject for laughter. ("Hear!") Nothing was calculated to excite such indignation in Ireland as an insult offered to the women of that country.
Lord DUNCANNON said, that the number of Whitefoot outrages in Carlow was in December, 113; in January, 205; in February, 146. The influence of Dr. Doyle and the Catholic priests had failed to keep the country quiet.
Mr. 1m:en objected to the application of a general and sweeping measure, like the bill, to a partial evil. Ministers deserved impeach. ment for not seeing that the existing laws were duly executed. They found England in a disturbed state two years ago, but did they then apply for additional powers? No—theyput the law in force; and why had they not done the same in Ireland ?
They complained that justice was impeded in Clonmell. Why out of 165 jurors, 76 attended ; and that at a time when the cholera was raging dreadfully, and the fear of infection was very great. The Catholics, too, knew that they were always set aside when they did attend, especially in Crown and Tithe cases. But even here they succeeded in obtaining a conviction in almost every case.
Mr. TALBOT supported the bill. He was compelled to admit that the necessity for coercive measures had been made out by Ministers. At the same time, he would not pledge himself to support all the details. Domiciliary visits were a horrible abuse; and he protested against arbitrary imprisonment as unnecessary. Mr. CHARLES GRANT said, it had been taken for granted that when once a district was proclaimed by the Lord-Lieutenant, martial law was to be immediately established—
That was not the case ; the measures of severity were gradual, their applica- tion depending upon circumstances, of which, it was true, the Lord-Lieutenant j
would be the judge. When a district was proclaimed, he repeated, it did not follow that courts-martial must be established; it might, and would happen, that the mere proclaiming would be sufficient in itself; and it was only when it was not sufficient that the additional measures of severity would be applied.
In defence of the arbitrary nature of the present bill, he took the same line of argument as Lord Althorp and Mr. Stanley.
If it were necessary to deviate from the Constitution, the line of demarcation ought to be so distinct, that there should be no danger of their proceedings ever being mistaken for a constitutional measure. He therefore contended, that it was a wise and just principle, when it was necessary to deviate front strict law, to adopt a course so widely departing from the usual line of proceeding, that it should be totally impossible ever to mistake the one for the other.
With respect to the connexion between puedial and political agita- tion, he said—
In the present state of Ireland, it was impossible to distinguish between political and priedial agitation ; they arose out of the same elements, were fed with the saute fuel, produced the same resentments, and employed the same weapons, though perhaps of different temper. It was out of the question to suppose, therefore, that they should not mutually react ; and if there really were no connexion between them, why was credit taken by political agitators for allaying praedial agitation ?
He strongly denied that Ministers had been actuated by party feel- ings in bringing forward this bill, but maintained that their object was to preserve personal freedom and the integrity of the empire.
Mr. LALOR asserted, that persons had been employed to seduce the lower orders, and to promote agitation, in order to form a foundation for this bill. ( cries of " Question! ") He had no objection to an ad- journment of the debate; but if it were not adjourned, it was but fair to give him a bearing. (cries of " Question! " and coughing.) He moved an adjournment.
Mr. Coiner:Tr seconded the motion.
Colonel DAVIES said, it was for the House to decide whether it would submit to be thus constantly bullied—whether it would thus,
night after night, be insulted, because honourable gentlemen thought
they were not sufficiently attended to, or their talents properly appre- ciated. (Loud cheers.) This was the eighth night of the debate on
this bill, and he trusted that the motion for adjournment would be re- sisted. If Lord Althorp would sit till that time to-morrow evening, he would sit with him.
Lord Ammar hoped the House would attend to Mr. Lalor ; but he could not assent to an adjournment under any circumstances.
Mr. LALOR would not press his motion; which was accordingly withdrawn.
Mr. Mattarce O'CoNxer.r. protested against the second reading of the bill, and declared that Ministers were actuated by party and per- sonal motives in introducing it.
The House divided : for the second' reading, 363; against it, 84. Ministerial majority, 279.
The House adjourned at half-past one.
Lord .ALTITORP, on Wednesday, moved the order of the day for the House resolving itself into a Committee on this bill. He consented, on the suggestion of Mr. R. C. FERGUSON, to postpone the f!onside- ration of the court-martial clause till the others were disposed of. He also stated, that
In consequence of the strong representations which had been made by several supporters of the principle of the bill, Ministers had agreed upon effecting two alterations in its provisions,—the one in the court-martial clause, the other in the clause relating to domiciliary visits by night. They proposed that no officer should be permitted to sit in the court-martial under the rank of captain; and secondly, that when the number on the court-martial did not exceed seven per- sons, that no verdict should be valid unless at least five out of the seven agreed upon it ; that if the court-martial consist but of five persons, no verdict should hold good in which all five had not agreed ; and thatwhen the number exceeded seven persons, that seven must agree to the verdict. They also proposed that in the case of a domiciliary visit, where the party summoned answered by name, the civil force should not possess the power of enforcing an entrance. [This statement was received with cheering throaghout.]
Mr. ROBINSON thought that unanimity ought not to be required where the court consisted of only five persons. The chances of ac- quittal were too great.
Lord ALTIIORP said, the smaller the number, the greater was the necessity for unanimity. ( Cheers.)
The question was then put, that the Speaker do leave the Chair.
Mr. O'CONNELL said, after the overwhelming majorities which had voted against him on previous divisions, he thought it needless to trouble members with a division on the question of the Speaker's leaving the chair. He would adopt a less direct and more convenient mode of opposition. He would, however, make no further concession, but
would take the sense of the House upon each clause. He would pro- pose an amendment to the first clause, for the purpose of preserving to the Irish the right of meeting to petition for redress of grievances, which that clause would deprive them of. He defied English mem- bers to point out a single advantage which had resulted to Ireland from the Union; and he was now endeavouring to obtain the right of peti- tion for a country in which the Habeas Corpus Act and trial by Jury were to be suspended.
It was impossible that the right of petitioning could be exercised freely unless it was exercised publicly. He trusted that he should be supported in this mo- tion by the English members. He was aware that there was no right the people of England prized more dearly than that of petitioning. The denial of that right was one of the causes which led to the Revolution; it was insisted npon in the Bill of Rights, and made part and parcel of the British Constitution. Without that right. oppression would pass unnoticed, and public crimes be com- mitted with impunity.
If the object of the clause was to prevent people from meeting to petition against tithes, there was no pretence for it, for no violence had been committed at any of those meetings. The clause was applicable to the whole of Ireland ; and those parts of the country which were perfectly peaceable and tranquil, such as the province of
Munster, would be as much subject to its operation as the disturbed districts at the mere verbal order of the Lord-Lieutenant ; for a proclamation, or even the publication of the order in the Gazette, was not requisite.
He concluded by moving his amendment; which was to the following effect-
" That it be an instruction tithe Committee to preserve inviolate and effectual the undoubted right of his Majesty's subjects in Ireland peaceably to propose, prepare, and present petitions for redressing grievances to his Majesty and to both Houses of Parliament."
Lord Aurtwite denied that the right of petition was done away with by the bill.
Never was there an assertion made that embraced a grosser exaggeration than this. The first clause of the bill, according to the interpretation of Mr. O'Connell, destroys this right of petitioning ; when in fact in only says that it may be lawful for the Lord-Lieutenant, or other Chief-Governor or Governors of Ireland, to prohibit or suppress any meeting which he or they shall deem to be dangerous to the public peace or safety, or inconsistent with the due admini- stration of the law. Mr. O'Connell also maiutained that complete irresponsi- bility was conferred upon the Lord-Lieutenant ; but the truth was, that the bill took away no responsibility from the Chief-Governor of Ireland, but, on the contrary, augmented it. There were certainly other clauses of the bill by which the assent of the Lord-Lieutenant was required for assemblages in proclaimed and disturbed districts ; but the arguments of Mr. AYConnell did not confine themselves to the first clause of the bill, but applied equally to them. all. By some of those clauses, one of the modes of petitioning was taken away in pro- claimed districts, but nothing more of the chief right was taken away.
He maintained, that in a disturbed district, a public meeting would not be a fair way of ascertaining the sense of the inhabitants. He trusted that the House would reject the proposition of Mr. O'Connell.
Mr. H. _GRATTAN maintained that Mr. O'Connell was right in his interpretation of the clause.
The House divided: for the amendment, 63 ; against it, 125; Mi- nisterial majority, 62.
A second division took place on the question that the Speaker should leave the Chair : for the motion, 151; against it, 34; Ministerial majority, 117.
It was then moved that the preamble of the bill be postponed.
Mr. O'CONNELL objected to that part of the preamble which stated, • that the existing laws were unequal to put down the disturbances, and that the interposition of Parliament was required for that purpose. He denied the truth of that statement; and moved as an amendment, that the words "the same containing an untrue recital" should be added to it.
Mr. COBBETT seconded the amendment.
Mr. FERGUS O'CONNErt and Mr. O'DWYER supported it.
Mr. STANLEY maintained that the preamble contained nothing but truth ; that its statements were borne out by the facts of the case—by the state of Ireland at the present time.
Mr. HUME differed from Mr. Stanley entirely as to the statements in the preamble being substantiated. He suggested, however, that Mr. O'Connell should withdraw his amendment ; as it was the usual and reasonable rule to postpone the consideration of the preamble till the provisions of the bill were settled.
Mr. H. GRATTAN said, that there was in Ireland a conspiracy against tithes, but not against property.
Mr. STANLEY said, that one of the rights of property was that a man should let his land to whomsoever he chose ; another was, that he should take it from whomsoever he chose, and cultivate it in any way he liked. Could that be done in Ireland?
Not four days ago, in the county of Kilkenny, within a very short distance of the residence of the member for Waterford—(" No, is Ross !")—well, in Ross ; it made but little difference ; but here had been brutally slaughtered an inoffensive and kind-hearted gentleman—a liberal and forbearing landlord ; in broad daylight this brutal outrage was committed. Was the collection of tithes the offence which caused this massacre ? No - the murdered man's only crime had been the legal right of property in his land, though exercised with the ut- most consideration and kindness; his crime was distraming some goods for rent, and advertising their sale. For this offence he was dragged from his gig; and the murderers having put his head on a stone wall on the roadside, and beat in his skull with stones—(Expressions of horror)—the mutilated corpse was then placed upright in the gig by the roadside, and left as a dreadful spec- tacle for the bystanders.
Mr. SHEIL fully agreed that this was a dreadful murder.
In this case there had certainly been an invasion of the rights of property, if the facts were really such as had been represented. But the blood of this man was vet fresh. Did this fact, which happened four days ago, justify the allega- tions-in the preamble, which was framed long before ? Why was this stratagem made use of—this fact brought forward just as the House were entering on the threshold of the bill? Was it not an attempt to excite the feelings of the House, thus in the outset, by an account of some laorrible murder ? The question was not whether an isolated crime had been committed or not, but whether the alle- gations set forth in the preamble of this bill were true or false. He contended that they were false.
Mr. SIIAW read a letter from a person who was present at the in- quest on the body of Mr. Leonard, the gentleman who was murdered, detailing some of the particulars of the mode in which the murder was committed. He was attacked by three men, on the borders of his own property, at two o'clock in the day, on the high-road to Waterford. Numbers of people were at work in the neighbourhood, and must have been aware of what was going forward. After they had murdered him, they placed his body in the gig, with stones piled before the wheels, in order that the horse should not draw it away, and that the spectacle should be exhibited to public view. He maintained, with Baron . Smith, that the alleged tranquillity was but a treacherous calm. The edict had gone forth to be quiet, but that gave no security. As to the pacification, what said the turbulent pacificator, Mr. Steele ? " Are you ready to go with me to the field if O'Connell commands it ?" was his address. Mr. Steele was to use his influence with the prisoners in gaol to procure a delivery of arms to the authorities. It appeared, then, that we were indebted for our tranquillity to a turbulent and sedi- tious maniac, and to convicts in gaol.
Mr. O'CONNELL said, it was not becoming in a Judge of the land to express the sentiments just delivered by the Recorder of Dublin. He called a man who was wider trial a seditious maniac; now the question
of sedition was for the Jury to decide, and it was premature in a Judge to deliver such an opinion. With regard to Baron Smith's charge—he had heard that the Baron was made a Judge in consequence of his father's conduct at the time of the Union : he hoped it was not true—he did not believe it. It was said also that an arrangement was in progress by which the Baron's son would be his successor on the Bench if so, they werelikely to have many more political dissertations from Judges.
Mr. SHAW, in explanation, said, that he was not a judge of the land ; but if he were, he could give as impartial testimony as a man who had been an advocate in a cause. He had never belonged to any club or association in his life. But be was taunted by a man who had spent his life in the midst of factious agitation—a man who would rather die than live without it.
Mr. O'CONNELL, also in explanation, said that he was accustomed to be calumniated. He had been a Successful agitator—/tint dee lachrymce—successful against the faction with which Mr. Shaw was connected. He strongly denounced the practice of legislating upon anonymous information.
Mr. MORGAN O'CONNELL rose to make one observation. Mr. Shaw had called Mr. Steele a seditious maniac : he gave that assertion a most direct and unqualified contradiction.
Mr. BUCKINGHAM rose, but was received with so much coughing that he resumed his seat. • Mr. HUME asked if that was proper conduct for gentlemen on the Treasury bench ? He was as anxious as any body to get rid of this bill ; but he protested against such indecorous behaviour, and would move that the Chairman do leave the Chair and report progress, if it was persisted in.
Mr. BUCKINGHAM was allowed to proceed. He objected to the postponement of the preamble, because it formed the foundation of the bill. The truth or falsehood of it was a most important question.
The preamble was then postponed.
Upon the first clause of the bill being read, Mr. O'CONNELL proposed an amendment, which would compel the Lord-Lieutenant, previously to the suppression of any meeting, to obtain the sanction of two Judges.
Mr. STANLEY opposed the amendment. It was injurious and dangerous to convert the Judges from legal to political characters. The Lord-Lieutenant was responsible to Parliament for his conduct. He did not wonder at Mr. O'Connell's hostility to this clause— It might occur that Mr. O'Connell himself, after running a round of evasions, and shifts, and devices—of the same public meetings, convened several times successively under the pretext of adjournment—of coffee breakfasts—of con- vivial meetings—and even charity dinners—should he have, as he had before, an indictment at length framed against him from which he could not escape, lie would no doubt de'claim loudly even against the amended clause : but sober, rational persons would rejoice that the career of agitation should be stopped. (Cheers.) Mr. O'CONNELL was quite delighted at hearing these observations of Mr. Stanley.
He had been charged with disobeying a proclamation. Upon that charge he met the Government. The Irish Lord Chancellor acknowledged that the in- dictment could not be sustained ; and the fact was farther proved by the honourable Secretary's having introduced into this bill the clause already men- tioned. As to the charity dinners—they had not been turned to political pur- poses. Thousands of orphan children were supported by this sort of voluntary subscription ; they depended on the receipts of the dinners, and had no other species of fund whatever. Were those the institutions denounced by Mr. Stanley? Was this his pacification of Ireland ? Did he call it peace and order, when he had succeeded in starving the orphans ? (Loud cheers, mingled with great disapprobation.) He would ask did not Mr. Stanley de- stroy those dinners by anticipation, and cut off the resources upon which so many thousands of orphans depended ? ( Cheering.) Mr. W. PETER said that the Lord-Lieutenant ought to have the power to suppress outrages.
Mr. O'CONNELL said, it was melancholy to hear a legislator about to legislate for Ireland in such deplorable ignorance of the true state of the case. Why, this part of the bill did not relate to outrages, but to the suppression of meetings and associations.
Mr. STANLEY said that Mr. O'Connell's language was not to be en- dured. Was it to be endured that an English county member should be charged with deplorable ignorance ?
Mr. HUME was surprised at Mr. Stanley's warmth. He deprecated Mr. Stanley's conduct, in making every discussion a matter of personal pique between himself and Mr. O'Connell.
Mr. O'CONNELL said, that Mr. Stanley, who was so very particular about terms himself, had yet elevated Bodmin into a county.
The amendment was negatived, without a division.
At half-past twelve, Mr. O'CONNELL proposed an adjournment; but subsequently withdrew it.
Mr. RUTIIVEN next proposed that the House should adjourn.
Lord ALTHORP wished that the first clause should be gone through first.
Mr. STANLEY proposed an amendment, which was adopted without debate, to the effect that all political offences should be made triable and punishable by common law, and not by courts-martial.
The clause was then gone through. The Chairman reported pro- gress, and obtained leave to sit again on Friday. The House adjourned at half-past one.
On Friday, the House having again resolved itself into a Committee on the bill, Mr. O'Coatarum, moved an amendment to the first clause, to the effect that it should not be lawful for the Lord- Lieutenant to prohibit or suppress any meeting held bond fide for the purpose of petitioning against any existing grievance in Church or State. By this amendment, he said, the persons holding the meeting would have to show that it was for the purpose of petitioning against real grievances. If the amendment was rejected, could any man deny that the object of the clause was to protect the monstrous grievance of continuing the pay- ment of tithe by a Catholic people to a Protestant Church?.
Lord Atnloite said that the amendment would render the clause perfectly nugatory.
Mr. H. GRATTAN moved another amendment, which was modified by Mr. O'CONNELL, to the effect that the parties intending to hold the meeting should give ten days' notice to the Lord-Lieutenant of the county, or two Magistrates, if in the country ; but three days' notice to be sufficient in Dublin.
Sir J. CAMPBELL, Mr. G. YOUNG, and Mr. CAYLEY, opposed the amendment ; which was supported by Mr. O'Dwvaa, Mr. HUME, Mr. O'CONNELL, Mr. SHEIJ., Mr. Pasiie, and Mr. TENNYSON,—on the ground that the clause, as it stood, was an unconstitutional infringement of the right of petitioning, and would be made use of to prevent legiti- mate meetings.
Mr. STANLEY strongly denied that it would have any such effect. It was necessary to make the Lord-Lieutenant the judge of what were legitimate meetings, and what were meetings for illegal purposes. Any Than knew how easy it was in Ireland to convene a meeting for legal, and convert it into one for seditious purposes.
The House divided : for the amendment, 85; against it, 246; Mi- nisterial majority, 161.
After a few words from Mr. GRATTAN and Mr. LYNCH, who each proposed amendments which they subsequently withdrew, Mr. BERNAL, the Chairman, put the question that the first clause should stand part of the bill.
Colonel PERCEVAL said, that the very essence of the bill was de- stroyed by the confession of Ministers that the court-martial clause was not to be applied to the punishment of political offences and the suppression of the great political meetings: He and his friends had supported the bill for that object ; but the bill was now not the bill which they had promised to support.
Colonel TORRENS and Mr. RUTIIVEN opposed the clause.
Mr. C. FERGUSSON supported it ; but wished to know whether a person who should attend an illegal meeting, without knowing it to be such, would be liable to punishment?
Sir J. CAMPBELL said, a provision would be introduced rendering-it necessary that a public notice should be given ; and it was only after such public notice that persons attending the meeting would be guilty of a misdemeanour.
Mr. PEASE would support the clause, and he would vote for the bill. In so doing, he considered that he was fulfilling his primary duty —that of supporting the King and the Government.
Mr. ROEBUCK opposed the clause; which he said was levelled against Mr. O'Connell.
Mr. COBBETT said, that Mr. Pease deserved the thanks of the country for having let out so much of the real state of the case. The reason he had given was quite intelligible—the whole matter was quite plain to him. In return, he would tell him a story.
During the American war, which he (Mr. Cobbett) should always consider a rebellion—though the Secretary for Ireland and the member for Leeds pro- nounced it a glorious revolution—two men, lovers of peace, who would not en- gage in war—no not for the whole world—men who would not touch a hair on the head of a human being, but who were persons of exceeding loyalty, offered, from their extreme attachment to the King and his Government, to conduct the British army into the American camp, for the purposeof slaughter- ing their countrymen ; but that Washington, who was so much praised by honourable gentlemen, seized those loyal persons, and hanged them on the highest tree in the country. (Langhtcr.) Mr. O'CONNELL asked Mr. Pease if he had ever heard of such a thing as " passive resistance " to tithes ? That resistance was carried on by very quiet men, and loyal subjects to the King. Mr. O'Connell went on to argue against the clause, on the ground of the arbitrary power which itgave the Lord-Lieutenant. There was no saying how far it might be carried—a man visiting his friend in his house might be said to be guilty of a misdemeanour. Meetings for charitable purposes might also be deemed illegal.
Mr. STANLEY said, the clause was directed against such meetings as those of the Volunteer Association. As to charitable meetings, it was a poor pretext to say that such meetings were for charity, when they were laid hold of as opportunities to inflame the public mind. It was a mere quibble to say that two persons might make an illegal meeting and be guilty of a misdemeanour under the bill.
Mr. O'Costierta. replied, and the House divided: for the clause, 322 ; against it, 70; Ministerial majority, 252.
The second clause was then moved.
Mr. O'CONNELL objected to the summary power which this clause gave the Magistrates.
Mr. STANLEY said that there would be no objection to expunge the summary jurisdiction part of the clause, and leave the persons accused to be tried in the ordinary way.
The third clause was then read.
Mr. Sergeant PERRIN moved an amendment to do away with the right of traverse in prox. His object was to make the administration of the laws as prompt and efficient as possible—the rather as he was utterly opposed to the court-martial clause, and would oppose it by every means in his power.
Lord ALTHORP objected to the amendment ; and it was withdrawn. The clause was then agreed to.
The Committee reported progress, and will sit again on Monday.
The petitions presented during the week have been almost entirely confined to one subject—that of the Irish Disturbances Bill. These petitions emanated for the most part from places in Ireland, although
several English ones were presented. Among the latter, was one from Marylebone, signed by 2,951 persons; which was sent to Mr. GROTE to present, in consequence of the disapproval of the conduct of their OM? member by the petitioners. Mr. HUME presented one from Edinburgh. sent to him for the same reason. Mr. COBBETT presented one. from Newcastle, signed by 14,000 persons. Among the Irish pe- titions was one from Dublin, signed by upwards of 20,000.persons, pre- sented by Mr. O'CONNELL. On the presentation, on Thursday, of a petition against the !MI from two parishes in the county of Dublin, by Mr. G. EVANS, some conversation ensued relative to the run on the banks for gold ; which Mr. COBBETT strongly advised the people to persevere in. His advice would be—" Run for gold ; produce confu- sion"— Before his sentence was finished, Mr. Cobbett was called to order ; and the SPEAKER informed him, that if he had used these words in an unprivileged place, be would have been amenable to the laws. Yesterday, upwards of two hundred petitions against the bill were pre- sented, principally from Ireland.
2. REkORM OF THE IRISH CHURCH. Lord ALTHORP, on Monday, brought in a bill for the reform of the Temporalities of the Church of Ireland ; which was read a first time. He then proposed that it should be read a second time on Wednesday ; but afterwards agreed to its being postponed till Thursday. Sir Roamer INGLIS, Mr. SHAW, Sir ROBERT PEEL, and Mr. BARING, strongly protested against the appointment of so early a day for the second rcaading of a bill which so deeply affected the welfare of the Established Church, and the interest of so numerous a class of persons in Ireland. Sir Roarlur PEEL declared, that such haste was unprece- dented ; that the principle of the bill would require at least three days' discussion ; that members were not as yet in possession of the printed copies of the bill ; and that it was by no means an unreasonable request that its consideration should he postponed to Monday at soonest.
Lord At:moat. replied, that some weeks ago, he had explained clearly the principle, and the most important details of the measure; that these remained unaltered ; and that the principle of the bill was all that the House would be required to decide upon at the second reading. He conceived that there would be ample time for members to make up their minds as to whether they would support the principle of the bill or not ; and that there would be no hurry in discussing the details. He adhered to his proposal that the bill should be read a second time on Thursday.
Upon this question a division took place ; when Lord Althorp's motion was carried, by 187 to 46.
Lord ALTHORP, on Thursday, moved the order of the day for the second reading of this bill.
Mr. C. W. WYNN contended that the measure was introduced in a manner which directly militated against the Standing Orders. It ought to have originated in a Committee of the whole House, and to have been founded on resolutions ; for it imposed a tax ; and, by a refer- ence to Hatsell's Precedents, it would appear that whenever a pecuniary burden of any kind was to be laid upon the people, the orders and practices of the House require that it should be discussed in a Com- mittee of the whole. He reminded Ministers, that it was extremely dangerous to deviate, upon any occasion or for any purpose, from the ancient and established rules and practices of the House.
Lord A I.THORP said, that the money clauses in the bill could not be considered as imposing a tax, since they merely transferred certain clerical funds from rich incumbents to poor curates. They were not intended to raise taxes. The introduction of the bill by means of a Committee of the whole House would be only productive of loss of time ; though, if Mr. Wynn's objection should turn out to be well- founded, he would not persist in bringing it forward in the present way. The bill irCght be read a first and second time, and then the money clauses be referred to a Committee of the House.
Sir ROBERT PEEL was confident that he could prove to anybody, by argument, that the bill could not be proceeded in. Lord Althorp proposed that the money clauses should be referred to a Committee, and the rest of the bill introduced in the present way. Now he would prove that this plan would not do—that the whole bill, on account of the money clauses, must be referred to a Committee previously to its second reading. Sir Robert then read several quotations from Hat- selts Precedents in support of his argument. He also referred to the Game Bill, introduced by Lord Althorp himself in 1821 ; in which a tax of only 2/. was laid upon game certificates, and yet the bill was not proposed to be read a first and second time until it had been referred to a Committee. If this precaution was used on so trifling a matter, surely it ought not to be disregarded when one of such great im- portance was about to be passed.
Mr. STANLEY professed great deference for the opinions of Mr. Wynne and Sir Robert Peel; but contended, that as this bill gave no money to the Crown, there was ne breach of the Standing Orders com- mitted in not referring it to a Committee. He would refer them to a precedent, exactly to the point, in favour of their present mode of pro- ceeding: he alluded to the Curates' Salary Bill. That bill was passed to provide for the maintenance of the poorer clergy. It contained clauses for the improvement of glebe lands and parsonage-houses ; but it was not considered necessary to refer it to a Committee of the whole House, because it granted no money to the Crown for state purposes.
Mr. GOULBURN said, that the increase made in the salaries of cu- rates was not of the same nature as a tax, but was a penalty for non-re- sidence. The bill must be referred, be was certain, to a Committee.
Sir J. CAMPBELL thought that the House might safely go on with the bill ; which was not one for laying a tax upon the people or inter, fering with the revenues of the Crown.
Mr. SHAW denied that the principle was the same as that of the Cu.
rates' Salary Bill. The very first provision of the bill stated that an annual tax was to be substituted for the first-fruits.
Mr. O'CONNELL thought that there could be no question about this bill being a bill to raise a tax. The word "tax " occurred in it in eleven sections. He regretted the necessity of delaying the progress of the Church Reform Bill; but he should like to know how the blunder had been committed ?
Mr. PRYME instanced several descriptions of bills connected with money which did not originate in a Committee of the whole House. A turnpike bill or a drainage bill was a tax-bill, yet it was never known that such measures originated in a Committee of the whole House.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL maintained that the Curates' Salary Bill bore strongly in favour of the course which Ministers bad adopted. Hat-
sell laid it down, that local bills should be referred to a Committee of the whole House, but that was scarcely ever done. Now this was a local bill.
He knew of nothing similar to this case in the whole course of Parliamentary proceedings. It was very important, and he should be glad to hear further discussion on the question ; but, above all, he should he gratified by receiving the benefit of the knowledge and experience of the Speaker. (4, Hear, hear I") Sir R. INGLIS said, the bill imposed a tax upon the Irish clergy. He relied upon the word "tax,"‘and would force it into discussion.
Dr. LUSHINGTON said, this was a case of great difficulty, and well worthy the attention of the House.
He hoped the Speaker would favour the House with his opiaioa; because he believed the House relied on his knowledge of the suWer, awl wit only on his knowledge of the orders and usages of the House, but on his sw,ll-known and often-manifested impartiality. The House, he was sure, would be entirely sa- tisfied, and the minds of gentlemen would be set at rest, when he gave his so- lemn and deliberate judgment. ( Cheers.)
He was himself of opinion, upon the balancing of precedents, that there was no occasion for referring the bill to a Committee. He again appealed to the Speaker for his opinion on the subject.
The SPEAKER delivered himself to the following effect— Having been called upon by the honourable and learned member to state to the House what were his views upon the point now before it, he begged to say, that while he was ready to admit, with all those honourable members who had spoken upon the subject, that it was one beset with difficulties, it appeared to bins that those difficulties arose out of the meaning, intent, purport, object, and character of the ,,ill, rather than out of the interpretation to be put upon the rules and forms of that House, with regard to which there could be little or no difference. He took it that the question now before the House wa,, whether one of the objects of this bill was the imposition of a tax, or not ; and in order to ascertain that point, it was necessary that they should come to a rimy under-
standing as to what the meaning of a tax was. Now, as h e
e took it, acording to the Standing Orders of the House, any imposition upon the subjects of the Crown, either- for public purposes generally, or for purposes eutireh: separate and distinct from the interests of those individuals upon whom the said imposi- tion was to be levied, was to be considered as a tax. In considering this que:i- tion, there was a point which he thought had been overlooked by the llou,o, and which materially affected the subject matter at issue ; and that was, whether a certain surplus of money, which would arise out of the operation of this bill, was not to be applied to purposes to which it had not hitherto been applied —to rmblic purposes, and whether a burden would not be imposed by the hill to he paid by the clergy which hitherto had not usually been borne by them. That was a poi,.t which materially affected the question, as to whether this bill should or should not emanate from a Committee of the whole House. It would be seen that he alluded to the part of the bill relating to the Church Cess ; and that part of it, he conceived, ought to occupy a prominent position in the considera- tion of this question. As to his giving an opinion himself upon the question, whether the purposes for which the bill was intended came within the meaning of a tax or not, lie was satisfied that the House would not expect him to give any such opinion ; and he was quite sure that it would not be decent for him, if he had formed any opinion on the subject, to obtrude it on the House. He had merely felt it his duty to call the attention of the House to the question which was before it,—namely, whether the purposes for Which this bill was intended came within the meaning of a tax or not ; that was to say, whether the object of it was to raise money upon the subjects of the Crown for general purposes, or to raise money upon a particular description of the subjects of the Crown, to be devoted to purposes with which the interests of those subjects were not con- nected. (' hear!") Mr. flumE said, that undoubtedly the bill imposed a now tax. i le would suggest, that a course should be pursued similar to the one generally adopted with regard to bills containing money clauses,— namely, to read the bill a second time,' and then that the House should go into a Committee of the whole to decide upon the imposition of a certain tax, which if adopted might be afterwards incorporated in the bill.
Lord A unman was willing to postpone the second reading of the bill till next week, that time might be given for the consideration of the question now started.
The order of the day having been read,
Lord ALTHORP moved that the order be discharged, and the second reading of the bill fixed for :Monday next.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL would take the opportunity. of correcting Mr. Hume's statement as to bills with money clauses being read a second time, and then the clauses in question being carried in a Committee of the whole House, and incorporated with the bills. There was always a resolution of a Committee of the whole House in the first instance, and then there was a resolution passed for bringing in a bill founded upon the resolution.
Mr. HUME repeated, that where the money clauses did not consti- tute the essence of the bill, the course he referred to was the one usually adopted.
The SPEAKER said, that the only question was, whether the part of the bill in question did not constitute the essence of it.
It was quite true that bills were often read a second time, and then that money clauses, such as clauses granting salaries, were afterwards passed by a resolution of a Committee of the whole House, and incorporated in such bills; but that was in the case where it was not the sole intention and object of the bill to grant salaries, but where such salaries were granted in aid of the objects of the bill. Here, however, the question was, whether, from the beginui!,g to the end of it, the whole object of the bill was not the imposition of a tax.
Mr. Huan understood the first principle of the bill, as put forth in the preamble, regarded the reduction of the number of Bishops in Ire- land, to which all other parts were subordinate.
Sir ROBERT PEEL suggested, that a Select Committee should be ap- pointed to search into the precedents on this point, and report to the House on Friday or Monday on the subject.
Mr. O'CoNNELL advised Lord Althorp to give tip • the bill al •::;v- ther, and more for a Committee of the whole House on the subjec:, on Friday or Monday.
Sir ROBERT PEEL said, it was an important point, which could only be decided by precedents.
Lord ALTIIORP agreed with Sir Robert Peel, and would propose the appointment of such a Committee.
The second reading of the bill was fixed for Monday.
Lord ALTIIORP then moved for the appointment of a Committee to search for precedents, and to report its opinion to the House.
Mr. Hum suggested the propriety of introducing two bills,—one
relating to the temporalities of the Church, and another for the ap- propriation of money.
Mr. O'CONNELL concurred in the suggestion. • Mr. STANLEY objected to it, on account of the intimate connexion • between two important parts of the bill,—the suppression of the ten Bishops' sees, and the placing of their revenues in the hands of Com.. missioners. This connexion was of such paramount force-as to render impossible. Mr. dividing of the measure into two bills mpossible.
Mr. D. W. HARVEY said, that this question had been treated only with reference to two parties—the Church, and the holders of leases : there was a third party, however, whose interests should be looked after,—he meant the people. With regard to the conversion of Bi- shops' leases into perpetuities— He wanted to know why these lessees should be allowed to acquire these lands in perpetuity for six years' purchase? He had heard the subject dis- cussed in several places, and had heard only one sentiment of astonishment at the low rate at which the purchase was to be made. He had not met with one person who thought the leases should be acquired in perpetuity for less than twelve years. purchase. He should, therefore call on the House to interfere for the protection of the interests of the public. The money to be realized by this sale was estimated at 3,000,000/. ; and he hoped the time was not far off when this and other sums, which were now devoted to Ecclesiastical purposes, would be applied to the exigencies of the State. Ile swished to know how the amount was ascertained of Church property in Ireland? It was said that the property of the Bishops was only 600,0001. a year obtained from 700,000 acres of land ; that of this sum the Bishops only got 100,000/. ; and that the interest of the lessees in the 500,0001. was to be made perpetual, for a sum equal to six years purchase. The House was certainly not acquainted with the nature and extent of that property, and he therefore thought it right that attention should be directed to the subject.
The Committee was then appointed.
:3. CLERICAL Amass. Lord KING, on Tuesday, moved for an account of all the poor livings in England and Wales, which had re- ceived augmentation from the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty— the amount of such augmentation or Parliamentary grant, and whether the tithes of the parish belonged to any Dean or Chapter, or were an- nexed to any see. He said that the funds of Queen Anne's Bounty had been shamefully misappropriated; that grants of money had been made to rich benefices, under the pretence that they were poor livings; that the Dignitaries of the Church, who were iinpropriators of the tithes of parishes, afforded a miserable pittance to the incumbents, and yet procured large sums from Queen Anne's Bounty, for the augmen- tation of the livings. He could call this nothing better than obtaining money under false and unworthy pretences. He then read a state- ment by which it appeared that the two collegiate bodies of Winches- ter and Windsor and the three deaneries of Exeter, Carlisle, and Bangor had received at different times 14,5001. from Queen Anne's Bounty. It was not to be endured that the Deans and Chapters, Registers, and all the other rubbish of Cathedrals, should take so much, more especially too of what did not belong to or never was intended for them. For his part, he could only find one language in which to address them: he could only say, " Get you gone, give place to honest inennien Who really work, who are really a pat- tern, as well by their lives as by their precepts—who knoW their calling, and act up to it."
The Bishop of LONDON said, that the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty had already laid before the House similar returns to those moved for by Lord King, up to 1826. It would therefore be best to order a supplementary return since 1826.
He did not think that Lord King fully comprehended the purposes of the Fund. It should be recollected that the Deans and Chapters held the great
duced as lay impropriators. Before 1831, at which period the Primate his bill, they could not legally saddle their estates, except the reserved
rents, which were very small. The Bishops, therefore, were not able before the passing of this bill, to do what their feelings would prompt, without impo- verishing themselves, and improperly. touching those resources which were abso- lutely necessary to maintain them in that respectability, station, and dignity, which was becoming the heads of the established religion. Lord King was not warranted iu the language he had uttered about Deans and Chapters—language which was not then heard for the first time ; for nearly the very same had been used a little time before the Rebellion, by Marvel, " who loved the poor clergy," and by Vane. The Bishop of CHESTER stated, that a petition complaining of cle- rical abuses in his diocese was now getting up ; but if ever it should be presented, he should be ready to prove that it was full of gross mis- statements.
The Earl of FIARROWBY was satisfied with the Bishop of London's defence of the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty ; whose proceed- ings he could himself say, were guided by general rules of justice and expediency, though they were sometimes disagreeable to individuals. The Bishop of EXETER complained of Lord King's renewed attack upon the Dean of Exeter, who was very ill with the gout, and who would suffer still more when he read the groundless accusations pre- ferred against him.
Lord WHARNCLITFE and Earl GREY made some remarks as to the propriety of including the impropriations in the hands of laymen in the returns moved for by Lord King.
Lord BROUGHAM -suggested the withdrawal of the motion for the present, in order to shape it in such a manner as would best insure the object in view.
Lord KING acceded to this proposal, on that ground, and withdrew his motion.
4. OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH. Lord BROUGHAM, 1 Monday, in presenting petitions from Westminster and London fi.: 0.)e better observance of the Sabbath, remarked, that there was great difficulty in legislating upon the subject, and that it should be approached warily. He felt very much disposed to deny that Sunday was worse kept than in by- gone days ; for he really thought that the habits of the people in this respect were improved, and that there was much more religion—not mock religion, not outside, showy, false religion—but that there was more real, sincere, and heart- felt religion than formerly, and that this was shown in the better observance of that holy day.
All crude and rash legislation should be avoided on the subject; any violent interference with the habits of the people might only render them less disposed to hold sacred that which all good men anxiously desired should ever be so.
5. JEWISH DISABILITIES. Mr. R. GRANT has postponed his mo- tion respecting the civil disabilities of the Jews till after Easter.
6. NATIONAL EDUCATION. Lord BROUGHAM, on Thursday, moved that a message be sent to the Commons for copies of certain returns made to that House relative to the education of the people. He stated that he had abandoned his bill of 1820 on two grounds. The returns which he had received from the parochial clergy proved the utter inade- • quacy of the endowed schools to furnish the means of national educa- tion : in fact, they only afforded those means to one fifteenth of the population. He also found great reason to question the policy or ad- vantage of converting voluntary into compulsory sources of education. Such a proceeding might engender feelings of disinclination to furnish the means of education, which were now so generously bestowed. From inquiries made on his own responsibility from the parochial clergy, to whom he had sent between five and six hundred circulars, he found that there were in 1818, 1,300 unendowed schools in 500 parishes, educating 50,000 children ; that in 1820 the number instructed was 105,000; in 1828, it had increased to 1,030,000, the number of schools being 32,000. There were, however, still 1,500 parishes in England in which there were no schools. Many of these parishes were certainly very small, only containing between twenty and thirty families, who could hardly be expected to maintain a school. He believed it would appear from inquiry, that the people of large towns, in the North more especially, were lamentably ignorant. To this state of things a remedy should be applied as quickly as possible. It was commonly remarked, that as education had increased, crime had also been increasing. The calendars, it is said, are not lightened. There were many causes which made the calendars larger in appearance than they really were.
For his own part, whatever might be asserted on the subject, he should still maintain his opinion, that the better the people were instructed, the less would be the crime of the country. He would mention a fact to prove how deceived those individuals were who disconnected the moral improvement of the people with a cheerful and ready obedience to the laws. In Spain, where ignorance shadowed the land, out of 5,800 offences against the laws, :3,500—a great deal more than one half—were connected with violence. In Pennsylvania, on the contrary, out of 7,400, there were only 640 marked by violence—a propor- tion of no more than one twelfth. In the Northern provinces of France, the same proportion, as compared with the Southern, also prevailed. In one of the largest gaols in this country, out of 400 prisoners, there were 200 utterly inca- pable of reading, and 50 more could only tell their alphabets, without being able to read even the shortest words.
He hoped that some plan would be devised for extending the advan- tages of education among the, people, especially to the inhabitants of large towns.
Lord ELLENBOROUGH regretted to hear from such a quarter so lamentable a statement of the ignorance of the inhabitants of large towns— It was only lately, on account of the boasted intelligence of these large towns, that they were called upon to make a most serious and dangerous change in the Constitution of the country—a change that was highly detrimental to the Agri- - cultural interest. For his owu part, on this subject of education in large towns, he should look to the natural feelings of the parents, and to the charitable im- pulse of the great capitalists, whose duty—whose solemn duty it was to provide the means of instruction to the offspring of those who' by their labour, their talents, and ingenuity, furnished their subsistence, and opened the road to the accumulation of their vast wealth. As to Lord Brougham's remarks about the connexion of crime with ignorance, he should merely observe, that in Ireland, where there was more reading and writing than in any country in the world, there was also more of crime and depravity.
Lord BROUGHAM observed, that Lord Ellenborough, with that re- fined ingenuity which he alone could evince, had dragged the Reform Bill into a discussion with which it had nothing to do.
If Ministers had given an increased influence to the population of the large towns, he believed they had not gone so far as sonic noble Lords once proposed to go. If his memory did nut deceive him, he believed he had heard something from them like a proposition for universal suffrage. And certainly, if they had adopted such a proposition as that, they would havecommunicated the elective franchise to the class of persons whom the noble Baron had described as un- educated and ignorant, and who had been left in that state, whether by the fault of the Government, or by that of the more opulent classes among whom they lived.
The motion was then agreed to.
7. THE Law REFORM Bill has been read a second time, and ordered to be committed on Friday the 22d.
8. SCOTCH BURGH REFORM. Mr. JEFFREY (the Lord Advocate), on Tuesday, moved for leave to bring in a bill to regulate the munici- pal constitution of royal burghs in Scotland.
He characterized this as a measure, the importance of which to the country to which he belonged was second only to that of the great Bill of Reform. As
the details were not likely to be in the least interesting to the majority of the House, and the discussions would be more particularly confined to members from his part of the country, it might be more satisfactory to those members, and more convenient to the House, if he obtained leave to bring in the bill, and then had it referred to a Select Committee, on which all the members of burghs and towns in Scotland should be appointed. By this course, the House would escape a great number of details not very intelligible to a majority of the House.
Mr. J. IRVING wished the bill to be referred to a Committee in the first instance. He hoped; at all events, that time would be given for the consideration of the bill in Scotland.
Mr. JEFFREY aid, that the bill would be printed and circulated in
Scotland, and fullest opportunity given to all parties to furnish suggestions,— r ;r:i;ch he should feel most thankful.
A Member asked if Mr. Jeffrey was prepared to bring in a bill re- specting unincorporated burghs ?
Mr. JEFFREY replied, that a bill for that purpose was in preparation. Leave was then given to bring in the bill. It was read a second time last night, and referred to a Select Committee.
Mr. Loci:, on Tuesday, obtained leave to bring in a bill to enable the Scotch Burghs to establish a general system of Police.
9. LIVERPOOL ELECTION. On Tuesday, the order of the day for the ballot for the Liverpool Election Committee having been read, Lord JOHN RUSSELL moved, That two members should be named by the House to conduct the inquiry ; that twenty-one members should be chosen by lot from among the. iembere present, to answer to their names, with such exemptions as the House should think fit ; to allow that the two members should strike off each four names faora the list of twenty-one; and that the thirteen remaining members should con- stitute the Committee on the Liverpool petition. He mentioned, that previous to the passing of tire Grenville Act, it had been customary to refer an election petition which complained of bribery, to a Committee of the whole House, but that afterwards it became customary to limit the inquiry merely to the question as to wIrich of two candidates was entitled to his seat. Consequently, much that was important for the people to know, was concealed from their sight. The inquiry was often stifled. In the case of Grampotmd, 7,000/. had been paid to keep back evidence. It was highly desirable that charges of bribery should be publicly investigated, and that a bill should be brought in to regulate the mode of proceeding in such cases for the future.
Mr. R. WASON objected to any member's name being struck out.. He had been active in promoting the inquiry ; and if his name should come up on the list, he should certainly be struck off. He proposed as an amendment, that the first fifteen names should be taken, and none struck off.
Mr. O'CONNELL would support Mr. R. Wason's amendment.
Mr. WARBURTON objected to that part of the motion which men- tioned that the Committee should be chosen out of those who were present to answer to their names. In that case, there might he what was called a " whip" in the House ; some members would be brought down, and some would be kept away in order to answer the purposes of one party or the other. He wished, therefore, the members whose names were first drawn out, should be placed upon the Committee, whether they were present or not.
Mr. BARING feared, that if this practice of examining into charges of bribery by the House was adopted, the utmost partiality would en- sure. He should like to know who was to defend the accused in the present case, and who was to bear the expense of their defence ? Lord Sandon was not bound to do either.
Mr. BENETT supposed that the Corporation of Liverpool would pay the expenses of the defence.
Sir R. PEEL said that the Corporation Funds Act would not allow them to do any thing of the kind.
Mr. WAsoN said that they had paid the deputation which was in town last year no less than 1,2001.
Mr. Hem]: advised the burgesses of Liverpool to look about them, and COD-libellee proceedings against the Corporation for the recovery of the money. He recommended Mr. Wason to withdraw his amend- ment, to make room for that of Mr. Warburton.
111r. WASON withdrew his amendment ; and Mr. WARBURTON pro- posed one to the effect—that the ballot should be taken, and that the members whose names were first drawn out should be placed upon the Coin mittee, unless it appeared that they were already upon Election. Committees, or had some other good cause of exemption.
Lord Jonx Resser.r. thought that there ought to be reserved some power of striking the manes off; because, as it was known that some individuals had strong feelings on the subject, the people of Liverpool might suspect some unfair play if they were on the Committee.
After some remarks from Sir J. WitorrEstEv, Sir Romer PEEL, and Mr. W. W. WYNN, in opposition to the plan proposed by Lord John. Russell, Mr. Warburton's amendment was negatived, and the original question was put and carried.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL said that the next thing was to appoint two no- minees. He had intended to propose Lord Sandon and Mr. Benett, but he understood that Lord Sandon objected to it.
Lord SANDON wished to be excused from being a manager ; and after some further conversation, Mr. Benett and Mr. Nicholl, member for Cardiff, were appointed managers.
A ballot was then proceeded to, and the Committee chosen.
On Thursday, Lord SANDON moved that counsel should be allowed to attend the Committee, to cross-examine the witnesses. This was objected to by several members, as likely to produce delay, and increase expense. Mr. D. W. HARVEY and Sir JOHN CAMPBELL thought that the employment of lawyers would save time, especially as they were only to examine witnesses, and not to make speeches. The motion.. was agreed to.
10. HErerFonn ELECTION. Mr. BERNAI., on Friday, as Chairman. of the Hertford Election Committee, said that he had been directed to move " That a message be sent to the Lords, requesting. the attendance of the Mar- quis of Salisbury to give evidence before the Committee, and to bring with hint any leases or agreements between his Lordship and sundry of his tenants named in the report." ( Cheers and laughter.) The SPEAKER said, that notice of the motion should be given; and Mr. BERNAL gave notice of a motion on Monday to the effect above stated.
11. BRIBERY AT STAFFORD. Mr. ELLICE, on Tuesday, moved for leave to bring in a hill to indemnify certain persons who might be called to give evidence relative to the bribery practised at the late Stafford. election. Ile would state the extraordinary circumstances which in- duced him to move for the bill.
He had been informed, by two individuals who had paid the money to the voters, that those tickets were issued to 524 out of the 526 voters who formed the majority in favour of the sitting member. On one side of the tickets was marked the name of the party who voted and was entitled to the money ; and on the other side was marked the sum to be paid to the voter. The sum varied from four pounds to sixteen pounds. When be said that 524 out of 526 of the voters who formed the majority had received such tickets, he thought he had made out a case which called for some inquiry. ("Hear, hear!") Mr. WYNN was in favour of the proposed bill, but did not see why it should not be extended to Liverpool, and indeed made general. If any case of intimidation of witnesses were made out, the House might suspend the sittings of the Committee. Mr. O'CONNELL said "If we cannot have a general law, in God's
For every original licence granted to a theatre
For every renewal of a licence to it theatre
9 0 For examining every plan or entertainment of the stage of five or more
acts 2 2 0 For examining every play or entertainment of the stage of three or four acts 1 11
For examining every play or entertainment of the stage or two acts
For examining every play or entertainment of the stage of one act
For examining every address, song, or other composition, not included in
either of the above descriptions 0 5 0
Mr. GEORGE LAMB thought that the time was come when some measure should be passed with regard to dramatic performances. He hoped that by this bill the law would be placed upon an intelligible footing. He was of opinion that the censorship could not be dis- pensed with.
Mr. HUME was sorry to hear Mr. Lamb speak in favour of the cen- sorship— He was quite sure, the present and for many years depressed state of the drama was attributable to the protection of the Lord Chamberlain and the sur- &valance of the Censor. It was well known that thejurisdiction of the Chamberlain opened the door to bribery and corrui tion. The licence-fees sys- tem spoke for itself, and could not be too soou altered. The drama, no less than the public, would be benefited by unrestricted competition ; under which genius .cad talent would thrive, and corruption could not. (Hear, hear I) Ranh 1 L us have a panic liar law." If the facts alleged were proved, the I et:ough of Stafford must be placed in Schedule A.
"We ought to have no cobwebs in the way. Let us sweep them all before as. The honourable member has stated that 524 out of 526 of the electors were bribed—surely that is a case for disfranchisement. So there were two in the majority who were not bribed] What an exemplary pair they must have been ! " Their names should bi written in letters of gold. It should be handed down to posterity that there were two honest men in Stafford. Such a scene as this I never heard of. It ought to break down every harrier, and will justify the House in at once extinguishing the borough of Stafford, if that borough is really as guilty as it is represented." (" Hear, hear !") Mr. BARING objected to the bill of indemnity, because it would screen the guilty.
Mr. ELLICE said, his only object in making the motion at all, was to expose the most notorious and extensive system of corruption which had ever come within his knowledge.
The corruption of the borough of Stafford had long been notorious. Even before Mr. Sheridan represented it, the price of a vote was ti/. Mr. Sheridan's argument to induce the electors of Stafford to become Reformers was this- " At present you get only 51. for a vote; if you obtain Parliamentary Reform, you will probably get 101.
The motion was then put, and agreed to; and the consideration of the report of the Stafford Election Committee was fixed for the loth April.
12. DRAMATIC AUTHORS. Mr. E. L. BULWER, on Tuesday, moved ito bring in a bill for the better protection of dramatic authors.
At present a dramatic author was the only person in the country who had no control over his own property. He might write a play, not wishiug it to be acted : it might be dragged on the stage—he would incur the penalty of dam- Elation if it failed, and no recompense it it succeeded. It might make the for-. tunes of a hundred managers, and not bring a farthing to himself.
By this bill the author would be protected— If his play were acted without his consent, he might apply to a court of law for liquidated damages—the maximum 50/., the minimum. 101. each night the play was performed, not exceeding 501. altogether. The consequence of this would be, that managers would apply to an author, and he would obtain a fair, and only a fair, remuneration for his labour.
He observed that Mr. G. Lamb had formerly introduced a similar bill to this, and ought therefore to be considered the earliest arid ablest advocate of the present one.
Mr. G. LAMB seconded the motion. Ile only objected to the amount of the minimum fine : the forfeiture of 101. would ruin many a poor country manager.
The motion was then agreed to.
LI DRAMATIC PERFORMANCES. Mr. E. L. BULWER, the same day, moved for leave to bring in a second bill fur the better regulation of the laws operating on dramatic performances. The bill was founded on the repirt of the Dramatic Committee of last session. Three ob- jects were to be effected by the bill— First, to give the public the advantages of competition ; secondly, to devise some reasonable safeguard against a theatrical speculator choosing an improper situation for the erection of a theatre; thirdly, to prevent all favouritism and caprice in the licensing authority.
He thought these three objects had been effected. With regard to the steps to be token preparatory to the building of a theatre, the bill proposed
That a person desirous of building a theatre should give three months' pre- vious notice to the overseers of the parish, and in the public prints; that he should accompany his memorial to the Chamberlain with plans of the proposed theatre, the number of persons it would hold, and a certifiCate from one or more architects as to the safety of the building and its capacities of accommodation.- These documents were to be left at the Chamheilain s Office, ready for any one In see who pleased. And if the inhabitants of the neighbourhood had an in- terest against the theatre, they would merely have to present a petition against it, signed by the majority of the household inhabitants entitled to Vote for the election of members of Parliament. If such a petition should be presented to the Chamberlain, he is to be bound to withhold the licence ; if no such petition lie . presented, he is hound to grant it. The circumference of the neighbourhood, thus entitled to petition, is fixed and definite ; it is to be the radius of a quarter ,of a mile drawn round the imposed site of the theatre. It is limited to this small -circumference for two reasons,—first, that it is the immediate neighbourhood alone that can be injured by the erection of a theatre; and secondly, that, ac- cording to the size of the neighbourhood, it will be easy to ascertain, by means _.tof a petition, the feelings and wishes of the inhabitants.
As to the Censor—although his evidence had been very amusing—he still thought that it was best to do without him. However, as he found, that to attempt to abolish the censorship would jeopardize the bill, be should content himself with merely cutting down his fees,- -though not his profits, as it was probable that a much greater number of plays would now be presented for his inspection and approval. The bill provided the following fees for the Lord Chamberlain or his Deputy—
Mr. WARBURTON said, that the great theatres administered to the physical rather than the mental gratification of the people. As to the existing interests of the patent theatres, the fact was they had no inte- rest remaining in them, they being mortgaged double and treble deep.
He possessed himself a renter's share of 5001. in Covent Garden, which, in addition to a personal admission, entitled him to 251. per annum—if he could get it. (A laugh.) Of course, during the last twelve years he did not receive a single sixpence; but, like every other proprietor, bad the right of entering the theatre. He was ready to sacrifice his share, in order to see dramatic perform- ances thrown open to the public.
Mr. EWART regretted that the bill was confined to the metropolis.
He had himself presented a petition from Liverpool, stating that in that town and its neighbourhood there was a population of 100,000 persons utt- provided with theatrical amusement. lie would move a clause to extend the bill to the country, if Sir. Bulwer would not do so himself.
Mr. BARING thought the office of censor a most useful one. The plays exhibited in Paris, under the unlicensed system, were shocking to every moral mind.
Mr. O'DwvEn had visited Paris, but the result of his travels was different from that of Mr. Baring.
Mr. 1313,wsut said there was no need of a censorship, as public morals had actually risen higher than the licence, which the censor could not lower.
This was evident from the fact, that many of the old plays, which the censor could not prohibit from being represented, were not and could not be played from their indelicacy. The absence of such exhibitions here as those referred to by Mr. Baring in Paris, was not imputable to our censorship, but a higher standard of public morality-.
Leave was then given to bring in the bill.
14. ARREARS or BUSINESS. Lord ALTIIORP, on Tuesday, said that be had given notice of a motion to call the attention of the House to the propriety of always taking the Orders of the Day before Notices, during the progress of the Irish Bill. He would not, however, press the motion, but hoped that the House would allow that course to be adopted.
Mr. ROBINSON objected to this proposal. He wished to know whether all other business was to be put an end to till this Irish Bill was passed ?
Lord Aurnone said, be had always supposed that all the decisions of the House would be guided by good sense and discretion.
He had, however, been apprehensive that the eagerness of gentlemen to bring forward motions would lead the House to attempt to do more business than it possibly could do in one session. That apprehension had been realized. On looking at the notice-book, he found so many notices of motions on very im- portant subjects, that every man acquainted with business must know it would be impossible to get through them in one session.
Mr. Hume would not come to any understanding as to the precise course to be adopted.
Mr. BARING said, the Ministry showed no disposition to afford in- formation or encourage general discussion on the great questions of Tithes, Corporations, the Bank Charter, and the East India Company.
In his opinion, the four, as enumerated by him, might be proposed in one day —(laughter)—and then left for the general discussion of the country.
Mr. RUTIIVEN said, that the Irish Coercion Bill was introduced to draw public attention from the pledges of economy and reduction of tax- ation which had been made by Government.
15. SIR JOHN SOANE'S MUSEUM. Mr. HUME, on Friday, moved the second reading of a bill introduced by him to enable Sir John Soane to invest :30,000/. 3 per Cent. Consols. in certain trustees ; the interest of which investment should be applied to keeping up his mu- seum for the benefit of the nation. Mr. HUME and Sir ROBERT INGLIS highly eulogized the munificence of Sir John Soane ; and the bill was read a second time, and committed.
16. REVISING BARRISTERS' EXPENSES. On Friday, a sum of thirty thousand fire hundred pounds was voted in a Committee of Supply, to pay the allr.wances and expenses to the Revising Barristers under the Reform Bill. Mr. SPRING RICE remarked, that the enemies of the Bill had predicted that these expenses would amount to one hundred and twenty thousand pounds; but they were only one fourth of that sum.