1WEBTMINSTER E LECTORS. —The members of the general and paro-
chial committees for conducting the election of Sir Francis Burdett and Sir John Hobhouse, dined together at the Crown and Anchor Tavern on Monday. Mr. '1'. S. Duncombe was in the chair. Sir Francis Burdett was prevented from attending by severe indisposition. The word of the honourable Baronet appears not to have been deemed sufficient evidence of this fact; for the certificate of Sir Matthew Tierney, dated 10th January, was read in confirmation of the statement. The Chairman, in proposing the health of Ministers, scouted the idea of the Reform Act being the " ne plus ultra of Reform ;" and would not believe that any of his Majesty's Ministers had asserted any thing of the kind. He said- " J for one, will not believe in such reports : if I did, I would not be the man ». propose the health of those Ministers. I will not believe them until haye them confirmed by the lips of his Majesty's Ministers themselves. Until . then, I will not believe such pusillanimous declarations have been made, or any sece tecreeei barmyls the People been in contemplation. But if such speeches haye hem' made, I do not hesitate to declare, that such speeches are only Ivorthe of being framed, glazed, and place.' in pane cabinet-window os thr: Duke fy' Willinaton's memorable derlaration oqteiit refiom ; when his Grace condes,cended to inform the lc 0 rill, that if lie had been called upon to construct a new representative system, he should take the oh! British Boroughmoogering one as Ins model—that. being his Grace's bean ideal of free representation."
This language is worthy of the manly character of 2Ii. Duncombe. We suppose, of course, that he has not read the speeches lately de- livered by Lord Althorp and Mr. Stanley ; or that he believes 'them to be incorrectly reported. If the latter, however, had been the case, it is natural to expect that they would have been disavowed, and the public disabused of their mistake, by those influential personages. Sir John Hobbouse returned thanks, when his health had been drunk, in a speech of considerable length. He expatiated on the great honour and glory which had accrued to the Westminster electors from their conduct during the late gtruggle. The following allusion to the sup- porters of Colonel Evans is not particularly courteous—
Had they pursued another course,—had they been led away, as it was foretold .
they would be led away,—had they been deceived by those who came forward to give, like mountebanks and jugglers, a bill of performances for the next ses- sion of Parliament,—they would not only have disgraced themselves, but they would have disgraced the great cause of Which, for so many and such advers.e. years of time they had been almost the solitary supporters. But their conduct had been such as to justify the hopes of their friends, and to contradict the pre- dictions of their enemies. Their struggles had had for their object to strike down that deadly tree where pestilence had, not to say overshadowed merely, but struck death into the root of the constitution, and liad been directed to the reframing of the representative constitution.
Sir John's speech is full of commonplaces. There is not a word in it respecting any of those great questions which now engross public at- tention. The only intimation that he does not consider the Bill as a final measure, and all-sufficient, is contained in the following passage— He was far from wishing: to shut the door against any recognized and well- understood improvement of the Bill ; still they were not amongst the number of those who would rush into any new experiment till the old experiment had been found to fail. Their object was to give an opportunity of applying the test of age to the experiment of age. That was the only way in which representatives ought to act; and if the time came in which the electors of Westminster be- lieved that the Government, of which he formed a part, did not accord with the spirit of the age, he should not want their hint.
This is extremely vague, and binds a man to nothing. Is it possible that the electors a Westminster can be satisfied with such an evident determination to act independently of his constituents, as is evinced by the whole tenor of Sir John Hobbouse's public conduct during and subsequent to his election ? The contrast between his speech, and that of his colleague Mr. Poulett Thomson at Manchester, is glaring, and highly disadvantageous to the Secretary at War. Mr. Sergeant Spankie also spoke. His address was principally filled with compliments to his constituents on the good order and tri- umphant majorities with which they had returned the Ministerial can- didates for the Metropolis. • Strange to say, it was more explicit and satisfactory on the subject of " final measures" than that of the once ardent Radical Sir John Hobhouse. The learned Sergeant declared, that He was for his part surprised that any question should arise, or should seem to arise, as to the finality of the Reform Bill. There might be a question, and a very proper question too, raised as to the propriety ot making any sudden changes in the Reform Bill itself until it had got a trial ; but surely no Minister would bring himself to imagine, that after reforming our representation we should stop there, and not proceed to reform our other institutions. No Minis- ter therefore could think that the Reform Bill was a final measure.
Mr. Spankie has at any rate the shrewdness to see, that it will never do for a representative for Finsbury to profess any such doctrine, if he wishes to be sent again to the House of Commons.
Colonel Jones proposed the health of Lord W. Lennox, who was present ; and stated, what we hope Will prove to be correct,—that Ministers would reform the Church, and do justice to Ireland. We quote the following passage from the gallant Colonel's speech— The Ministers were sure now of an overwhelming support, and he was confi- dent that, as honest men, they would use that support in carrying reform where it was much wantednand where it was a few years since but little expected— into the bosom of the Church of the country. That would be the only way to render the Church what they all wished it to be—permanent and lasting. The result of the Reform Bill had defeated the hopes of all wicked men throughout Europe, and of those despots who worked their ends through such agents. That measure had put the seal upon the destiny of man, and nothing now could arrest the march of freedom throughout the world. That party an this country to which the title of " Conservatives" had been so unjustly applied, he would rather call " the Obstructives ; " and there was another party who would make a change, for the sake of change itself, or for the purpose of bettering their now desperate fortunes. He trusted that his Majesty's Ministers would adopt such measures as would enable them to ride the storm, airail to crush both "the Destruc- tives" and "the Obstructives." He trusted thWi they would also do full and speedy justice to Ireland—to that long and most unfortunately neglected country ; and by so doing, by the introduction there of efficient and searching reforms, crush altogether a -body of men that were seeking to urge on their fellow-couns rymen to deeds of violence
In the Court of King's Bench, on Saturday, the Solicitor-General showed cause against a rule for a mandamus to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, commanding them to admit and swear in Mr. Michael Scales an Alderman of the ward of Portsoken.
The learned counsel contended that Mr. Scales was in the same situation now as when the return was made to the mandamus issued on the occasion of the for- mer election, which stated that the Court of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen had adjudicated that Mr. Scales was an unfit person to support the dignity and dis- charge the duties of an Alderman. That return had been held good; and it would therefore be useless to issue another mandamus, as a similar return would be made, the defendants having again adjudicated that Mr. Scales was an unfit person.
The Lord ChiefJustice observed, that it did not appear from the affidavits that the Court of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen had examined any new evi- dence as to the unfitness, and that the ground of the application for this rule was, that a person might be unfit at one time and perfectly fit at another. Mr. Law and Mr. Follett followed on the same side with the Solicitor-Ge- neral ; and contended, that the right of admitting or rejecting rested entirely with the Court of Aldermen, who were not bound to give their reasons for what they did.
The Court were of opinion that the mandamus should issue, as a new state of timings had arisen since the return to the former mandamus. Mr. Scales, hav- in,7 been again elected, ought to have an opportunity of investigating the facts alleged against his eligibility.—Rule absolute.
Captain Forbes brought an action against the Satirist newspaper for the following alleged libel published on the 30th September last. " Langford. conversing with his man Friday (meaning the plaintitT)on the subject of th, trade, enunn•rated several instances of superior endowments among the black Yes,' observed Forbes, the history a Hayti affords ample proiii of that ; they aro equal to us at least in intellectual matters.' You know, Forbes. I fear, but little of history: remarked his Lordship ; 'look into the history of England, and you will there read au account of a black prince who was the greatest soldier of his time.' "
It was contended for the plaintiff; that it was degrading to call any subject of ..his Majesty "the man Friday :" but the Judges held, that, as Friday was a very faithful, honest fellow, it was certainly no libel to call a man by that name. Captain Forbes also complained of another paragraph in the same paper, beaded " Gambling Fracas," in which it was said that
" A Mr. Iltig,h, calling himself Captain Forbes, had quarrelled at a gaming-house with a Mr. Tarlton—that a meeting was arranged, to come off at Putney heath--that the adverse parties were in attendance at the time appointed, but that neither the plain- tiff nor his second appeared upon theground."
But their Lordships decided that it was no libel to charge a man with neglecting to keep an illegal appointment, and that all gambling was not illegal. The plaintiff, therefore, was beaten upon both counts.
In the Court of King's Bench, on Tuesday, a rule to file a criminal information for the publication of a libel in the West Briton, a Car- marthen newspaper, against certain magistrates of Carmarthen, and particularly Mr. Phillips, the Mayor of that borough, was made absolute.
The Solicitor -General showed cause against the rule ; and entered into a statement of the riotous proceedings which took place at Carmarthen in Octo- ber last, in which the two parties called the Blues and Red made a conspicuous figure. The article complained of as a libel censured the Magistrates for drunken- ness and misconduct during the riots. The Lord, Chief Justice asked, whether it was denied that the Mayor was in- toxicated at the time of the riot?
The .Solicitor-General said that was not denied ; but all the assertions in re- spect to intoxication had been founded on the fact that Mr. Phillips and other magistrates were making merry at a tavern at the time of the riot, and were not sober.
The Lord Chief Justice said, it would be the study of the Court to avoid be- coming Red or Blue in this matter. The charge of intoxicationhad been made in the article published by the defendant ; and unless they had an affidavit to prove that that charge was founded on fact, the rule must be made absolute. Sir James Scarlett, by whom the rule was applied for, said there was an affi- davit stating that Mr. Phillips was sober. The Solicitor-General—" He was only able to say ' God save the King.'" The Lord Chief Justice—".That was the last part of the Riot Act. 1L.Trt less there is something to make the Court think the Mayor was in that state that he was not fit to be called to quell a public riot, the rule must be absolute." Mr. Evans, on the same side, read from the affidavits charges against the Ma- gistrates of refusing to take proper means to quell the riot, and calling in the military without any necessity for armed force.
The Court, having heard the affidavits, were of opinion the rule ought to be made absolute.
In the King's Bench, yesterday, Mr. Cobbett obtained a rule for a criminal information against Messrs. Edward Baines and Son, the
publishers of the Leeds Mercury. Mr. Cobbett had been charged in that paper with being "an uncertificated bankrupt ;" with an insinua- tion that he was therefore disqualified from sitting in Parliament. Mr Cobbett swore, that, although he was a bankrupt in 1820, he had ob- tained his certificate in the legal way ; and that Mr. Baines was well acquainted with the fact, for that he had subsequently congratulated Mr. Cobbett on having obtained his discharge.
Mr. Chambers, one of the Union Hall Magistrates, who, it will be recollected, committed a person to prison under a clause in the Pawn- brokers' Act, which it was subsequently decided did not empower him to do so, has appealed against that decision to the Court of King's Bench. The Lord Chief Justice said, that the Court would take time to consider of their decision.
It has long been an important question among solicitors, whether the Commissioners of the Bankruptcy Court have power to summon them to produce proceedings of papers in cases before the Court. Hitherto, however, none of the profession have ventured to make any decided opposition. A short time since, Mr. Carter, a solicitor of the Lord Mayor's Court, having received a summons to produce certain papers relative to a case before the Court, refused to appear ; expressing a de- termination, should a warrant be issued for him, to try whether the Commissioners really had this power. A warrant was issued, to which he refused to attend, and a Subdivision Court was to have met on Tuesday to try the case ; but at twelve o'clock, Mr. Carter entered Mr. Commissioner Merivale's Court, and expressed his regret for the contumacy which he had shown ; and stated, that having carefully in- quired into all the laws respecting the subject, he found he had formed an erroneous view of it ; and humbly begged pardoil for what 14 had done.
The Judges met on Thursday morning in the Court of Exchequer, and chose their respective Circuits for the Spring Assizes. Midland—Lord Chief Justice Denman, and Mr. Justice Bosanquet. Rome—Lord Chief Justice Tindal, and Lord Lyndhurst. Western—Mr. Justice J. A. Park, and Mr. Justice Littledale. -Norfolk—Mr. Baron Vaughan, and Mr. Baron Bollard. Oa:ford—Mr. Justice James Parke, and Mr. Justice Taunton. iVirrthern—Mr. Justice Alderson, and Mr. Baron Gurney. North Wales—Mr. Baron Bayley. South Wales—Mr. Justice Patteson.