1 MAY 1847, Page 10



In the House of Commons, last night, Lord JOHN R ossEta. having moved the order of the day for going into Committee of Supply on the 620,0001. grant in aid of certain Irish Railways, Mr. ROEBUCK moved as an amend- ment, that "the other orders of the day be now read "; which was nega- tived, by 203 to 14. The House having gone into Committee, Sir CHARLES WOOD made an explanatory statement on several important points— First, as to the monetary position of the country. He argued that the alarm in the City, at least in the degree to which it had prevailed, was utterly and al- together without foundation. He had that morning had a communication from the Governor of the Bank of England, showing that the state of the Bank was Materially improved. The return for the 24th of April would show that the lia- bilities had been diminished, the means of meeting it increased. The Bank was therefore enabled to give increased facilities to the money-market. The deputa- tions which Sir Charles bad seen respecting the state of things in the North felt much more satisfied than they did three days ago. Many persons, who repre- sented to him the alarm which prevailed, said that there were more bank-notes in circulation than VIRE necessary ; that more bills were discounted than they thought desirable; and he believed that if the pressure had been more gradual and net so sudden, the present pressure, even if greater than it actually was, would not have been so sensibly felt. But in cousequence of the recent efforts of the Bank of

ghted, he believed that the extreme pressure might be said to be removed. He steed only allude to the increased price of Stock. This might in part be owing to the batelligence from Russia, But besides this, the exchanges from the whole of Europe are in our favour; and by the last accounts from America, the demand for,gold is likely to be less than was anticipated. He now further explained the proposed advances to railways. Two bills were propoaed,—one appropriating 1,000,0001 for the improvement of landed property in Ireland, the other appropriating 1,000,0001. for the reclamation of welds lands; Jointly 2,000,0001.—to be devoted to the employment of persons by private enterprise. When he proposed the vote of 8,000,0001., he stated that a portion was to be applied to advances of this description. It was therefore a total mistake to suppose that a new issue of Exchequer Bills, or a new loan, would be requisite for the purpose in view. The more important of the two bills which be hair men- tioned was the one for the improvement of landed property: and accordingly, before the bill left the House, the sum appropriated by it was increased to 1,500,0001.; leaving only 500,0001. available for the reclamation of waste lands. In the dis- cussions on the subject, great objection had been taken to a compulsory power in the measure for reclaiming waste lands, and Government therefore abandoned the compulsory clauses; endeavouring to frame a bill of a voluntary and optional kind, in as practical a shape as possible. But then, in abandoning the com- pulsory clauses, Ministers found that they had abandoned the most practical part of the measure; and therefore they abandoned the bill altogether for this session. Thus there is 500,0001. available towards this grant.

Ear Charles glanced at improved signs in the state of Ireland: persons em- ployed on the relief works have been reduced from 734,000 in March to 280,000 on the lot of May; the discharged persons are absorbed in private employment; only 2,0001. has been advanced to Relief Committees out of the new loan; a larger breadth of land than usual is laid down in wheat, spring crops, and green crops; the ordinary quantity of potato has been planted, and potatoes reappear in the market.

Ile went on to explain that the lines of railway selected for advances were "of that peculiar character that it would be advisable to make advances to them." A long debate followed. The Irish Members supported the motion. Mr. WILLIAM CoLLErr and some others only objected, that more schemes were not to be favoured with advances. Lord GEORGE BENTINCK sup- ported the project, as a small imitation of his own. The Bank Charter Act and the conduct of the Bank were also criticized. Mr. &volute seized the occasion to parade the Birmingham doctrines of currenoy; and encountered a controversial opponent and master in Sir ROBERT PEEL. Some remarks were of a more substantial nature.

Mr. GOULRURN showed, that although the grant of 620,0001. was pro- vided for so far as Government was concerned, the advance to particular railways would invite indefinite extension to other claimants, and would in itself have an injurious tendency in the money-market. While other railways cannot obtain money under 8 per cent, those favoured by Govern- ment would obtain the advance at 5 per cent: they would naturally be anxious to obtain a speedy return for their outlay; they would make sacri- fices for that purpose, they would borrow; and they would be able, having saved money on the advance, to give higher terms than other companies; thus raising the market rate of interest, and increasing the difficulties of all the other companies. Mr. Goulburn, however, was glad that he had learned, by Sir Charles Wood's explanation, that the money was not to be an addi- tional grant, but transferred from other grants; as he had felt bound to take s course very different from that which he was now disposed to do, [mean- ing that he should not vote against the project]. Mr. ROEBUCK pounced upon this declaration, and exposed the inconsistency between Mr. Gout- burn's speech and his intended vote.

Sir RGEERT PEEL declared, that with all his proved desire to support the Government, he could not give his vote in favour of the advance. If by saving in other branches of outlay Government had 620,000/ to spare, it ought to be devoted to increase the balances in the Exchequer. Touching upon the Bank Act of 1844, Sir Robert denied that it relieved the Bank from all responsibility of general superintendence over the monetary con- cerns of the country. He expressed an opinion that it would have been better if the Bank had raised the rate of discount sooner, say to 5 or 6 per cent in January, rather than suddenly turning round when the real diffi- culty came and totally refusing accommodation to particular classes of bills having a certain time to run.

After Lord JOILN RUSSELL had made a defensive speech, and Lord GEORGE 13mernacx his exulting one, the Committee divided; and the vote was carried, by 208 to 75.

In the other House, Lord EGLINTON moved- " That a Select Committee be appointed to take into consideration the existing laws and regulations which relate to the elections of the Representative Peers of Scotland; to consider what steps should be taken to prevent persons from voting at such elections who are not entitled to do so; and to report upon the proceedings which took place at the election of Lord Gray, on the 17th day of March last." At the election of Lord Rollo's successor as one of the Representative Peers, a person who claimed to be "Lord Colville of Ochiltree; voted, although under a protest from Lord Selkirk. The law contains no provi- sion for preventing persons from voting who make even the unascertained

claim to do so. TwoCommittees, in 1822 and in 1832, sat to consider the subject; and the latter Committee made some recommendations, which were not, however, carried into effect; because, as Lord BROUGHAM ex- plained, they were defective. The motion was agreed to, and a Commit tee was appointed.