Debates aniy iprottenings in Varliament.
LOANS TO IRISH RAILWAYS: FINANCIAL STATE OF THE COUNTRY.
After the Education debate on Monday night, in a Committee of the whole House, Sir CHARLES WOOD brought forward a plan for advancing loans to Irish railway companies. He reminded the House, that in the discussion on Lord George Bentinck's railway scheme, he had not ex- pressed himself adverse to the construction of railways in Ireland, but only to the indiscriminate and extensive assistance proposed by Lord George. His own plan was on a different principle. The Loan Commissioners have been in the constant habit of making advances to railways which under the acts of Parliament are in a condition to borrow—that is, having paid up 50 per cent of their capital. Such a course might now give a great impulse to employment in Ireland; but the advances for fever hos- pitals, workhouses, &o., make it inexpedient to draw large sums for rail- way purposes from the funds at the disposal of the Loan Commissioners. Under those circumstances, he thought that it would be advisable to make a loan to railways of a limited extent—say 620,0001. He proposed to lend 500,0001. to the Great South-western Railway Company, whose capital is 2,600,000/, paid up 1,400,0001.; 83,0001. to the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway Company, capital 250,0001., paid up 125,0001.; 36,0001. to the Dublin and Drogheda Railway Company, capital 150,000/, paid up 100,0001. The amount would be repayable with 5 per cent interest. Sir Charles mentioned that the expenditure on the relief works in Ireland has decreased to 600,0001.—a decrease of 400,0001 in the month of April u compared with March; and the diminution is still going on. He con- cluded by moving a resolution authorizing the advance of 620,0001.
Mr. Hume objected strongly. The financial circumstances of the country are yet more adverse than they were when Government made out so good a case against Lord George Bentinck's plan. The Bank was then lending money at 31 per cent: can railway companies now obtain money even at 5 or 6 per cent? [Mr. Hunsom—" Yee] The bullion in the Bank coffers has fallen from 13,000,0001. to 9,000,0001. At all events, that was not the thae for considering so important a subject; since it was already past mid- night. He moved that the Chairman report progress. Mr. ROEBUCK se- conded the amendment. Mr. GOULBURN hoped that the vote would not be pressed that night. Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE made some angry observations on the absence of the Irish Members—who are always negligent of their duties; on the late hour at which the matter was introduced; and on the objection to this beg- garly grant of 620,0001. because of the state of matters in the City. What is the state of matters in Ireland? The Poor-law and the Soup Act have already began to operate, and the rates are in many districts 7s. in the pound—though it is impossible to collect rates in Ireland. Next year, he predicted, there would be very little standing between Lord John Russell and revolution.
Sir CHARLES Woon wished the House to pass the resolution at that stage, and take the discussion on a later stage. Mr. ROEBUCK could not agree. Talk of the state of Ireland!—they might soon have to talk of the state of England. Lord GEORGE BENTINCK taunted the Chancellor of the Exchequer with having become better instructed on the subject of railway employment within the last two months. Lord George had been blamed for calculating that 16,000,0001. would employ 110,000 men: now the Chancellor of the Exchequer calculated that 600,0001. would employ 15,000. Lord George had been accused of proposing indiscriminate loans: what he did propose was that no loans should be given without the guarantee of the Railway Commissioners: the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed no such guaran- tee. [Sir CHARLES Woon—" One half of the capital must be paid up.") Lord George proceeded to consider the altered state of the money market— with interest at 6 or 7 per cent for good bills that have sixty days to run. Is that owing to railway advances?—No; but to the drain of gold to pay for unrestricted imports; and still larger drafts of bullion will be required to pay for corn yet to come from America. Another reason is the so much lauded Bank Charter Act,—a very good measure for fair weather; but, before it was too late—before bankrupts should come knocking at their doors—he called upon Ministers to remove that restriction by which the Bank is prohibited from issuing notes beyond 14,000,0001. unless each pound in notes be represented by a sovereign in the coffers.
Sir Cammes WOOD made a second statement, in reply to these alarms. He admitted the financial difficulty of the time, but denied that it is im- putable to the Bank Charter Act, or to the operations of the Government—
As to the Bank Charter Act, in point of fact, what are deemed its stringent provisions have not been brought into operation: the difficulty would have been less if they had been brought into play three months earlier. The Bank has not contracted its circulation. On the 29th of August 1846, the amount of bullion in the Bank was 16,366,0001., and the circulation of notes 20,426,0001. On the 17th of April last, the amount of bullion in the Bank was 9,329,0001.; showing a decrease of 7,037 0001. Now, what was the reduction in the circulation of notes? If the spirit of the Banking Act had been acted upon, there would have been a diminution corresponding to that in the amount of bullion; but on the 17th of April the amount of notes in circulation was 20,242,000/, being a decrease of only 184,000/. Now, would any person either in or out of that House, after that statement, which had appeared in the Gazette and in every newspaper in the City during the past week, talk of the reduction of the circulation ?
As to the accommodation given to the commercial public, if Lord George would look at the Bank return of last week, he would find an enormous increase of pri- vate securities in the Bank; and everybody who knew anything of these matters was aware that an increase of private securities held by the Bank indicated an increase of discounts.
As to the demands of Government, if Lord George would look at the return, he would see that on the 29th of August last the Government securities held by the banking department were 12,961,000/, and that the private securities were about the same amount—not quite, being 12,395,000!. How did they stand on the 17th of April last? Why, the Government securities had diminished to 11,677,0004, being a diminution of 1,284,0001.; while the private securities had increased to 17,111,000/, being an increaee of 4,716,000/, or nearly 5,000,000/ Nearly two weeks ago (on the 3d of April) the private securities amounted to no less than 18,627,000/ It thus appeared, therefore, that the Bank had increased its ac- commodation to the traders in the way of discounts to the extent of nearly 6,000,0001., while the Government securities were less by 1,000,000/ The Go- vernment securities were less in the first three weeks of April than in the corre- sponding weeks of January : in the January weeks they were respectively 12,826,000/, 12,757,0001., and 12,757,0001.; in the April weeks, 11,990,0001., 13,574,000/, and 11,667.0001.; in the April weeks of 1846, 13,186,0001., 14,437,000/, and 13,957,0001. In the month of April the amount of circulation has never exceeded 18,000,0001.; in 1840, a year of pressure, it was 17,000,0001.; it is now 20,242,0001., irrespective of the reserve in the Bank.
There is nothing in the state of the circulation nor of the accommodation given to the public to cause the prevalent alarm. Sir Charles believed himself, from what he had heard, that at the present time of the year trade never was in a sounder state: there was an absence of speculation; and the Bank was acting with great prudence, reserving to itself the ability to meet the demands which might be made upon them. Sir Charles took this opportunity of correcting another mistaken supposition, that Government had been effecting some extensive operations with the savings- banks money. The complaint had been made that the Government bad dabbled with the savings-banks money, and so lowered the Funds: but all that had been done was very simple, and must have had a directly contrary effect. The deposi- tors in the savings-banks, finding that a greater amount of interest was given by the private banks than in the savings-banks, had chosen to withdraw their money, as they had a perfect right to do. The only mode of meeting this withdrawal was by selling stock, and therefore the broker was instructed so to do; but in order to prevent a fall in the Funds, he had applied the amount of the sinking-fund in his hands to the purchase of stock, thereby preventing the effect in the market which the operation would otherwise have in the deterioration of prices. So that, so far from anything having been done to lower prices, the result must have been to keep them up.
Sir JAMES GRAHAM hoped that the debate would be adjourned.
Mr. THOMAS BARING said that the cause of alarm was not so much the diminished circulation as the diminished facilities for obtaining accommo- dation from the Bank.
Mr. JOHN ABEL SMITH observed, that the circulation was quite sound; but be had never seen greater or more general alarm than there had been within the last few days, and it produces results as disastrous as if it were well-founded. He hoped that, if necessary, some discretion would be given to Government to increase the confidence in the Bank.
With a few more observations, the debate was adjourned. The subject was alluded to in the House of Lords on Thursday. Lord BROUGHAM begged to put a question respecting the pressure on the money- market and the state of the manufacturing districts—
The manufacturers, although they had large orders from America lying by them, could not make up those orders, by reason of the difficulty of obtaining accommodation in the present state of the money-market; and his question was, whether the Government had turned its attention, with reference to these circumstances, to any measure for relaxing temporarily—only temporarily, of course—the act which passed in 1844 for regulating the Bank of England ? He only wished to know, not what were the preeise intentions of the Government, but whether they meant to bring forward any measure on the subject. The Marquis of LairsnowNE feared that he must admit the pressure in the manufacturing districts. It had been under the anxious considera- tion of the Government; but he was not prepared to say that any mea- sttre on the subject to which Lord Brougham had referred was in contem- plation.
Lord Asnanntroar, to show the extent of the pressure, stated, that on the previous day bills having on them names of men of the highest credit were discounted at 12 and 13 per cent!
Here the conversation was taken up by Lord MONTEAGLE, with no in- crease of information or interest.
In the House of Commons, on Tuesday, Dr. BOWRING moved— "That the adoption of a decimal system of coinage currency and account would be a great public convenience. That, in order to give effect to this object, an humble address be presented to her Majesty, requesting that she will be graciously pleased to authorize the issue of coins representing the value of two shillings, be- mg the tenth of a pound sterling, and twopence and two-fifths, being the hun- dredth part of a pound sterling; such coins to be called Queens and Victories, or any other name which to her Majesty may seem best." This country, Dr. Bowring observed, is the only one in Europe, with the exception of three or four, that has not adopted a decimal system; and all who have adopted it are well satisfied with the change. In our case, the addition of two coins would make the system perfect— He would retain the present sovereign, half-sovereign, crown, half-crown, shil- ling, and sixpence; and would only make a slight change in the value of the cop- per coinage, to the extent of about one quarter per cent. A farthing would re- present the thousandth part of a pound sterling. The coin which he proposed to create, of the value of about 2id., was in use in this country down to the time of Edward the Third, and was the ancient Saxon penny. It was objected that the value was too small for a silver coin; but it would weigh 18 grains, it would be of a convenient size, and he had no doubt it would be found an acceptable me- dium of exchange. A silver piece representing the value of two shillings would also be a valuable addition to the coinage. He did not include in his motion this year the subject of weights and measures, because he believed that the introduction of a decimal system into the coinage would soon lead toe reform in the system of weights and measures. The adoption of a decimal system would substitute calculations of extreme simplicity for those of great intricacy: it would be a great advantage to the trade and commerce of the-country, and a great convenience to the public. Mr. Hume vigorously supported the motion. We have no idea of the time and trouble that a decimal system saves in America: in this country it would save the work of one clerk in five; men of property and rustics would for the first time understand accounts. He suggested inquiry as to the mode of carrying out the measure. Sir CHARLES WOOD thought that there was no necessity for inquiry, but great necessity for caution in changing the old coinage of the kingdom, upon whioh the prejudices and feelings of the people are more fixed than upon almost anything—
He was not insensible to the value of a decimal coinage; but any violent at- tempt to force it upon the people must be deprecated. He had no objection to strike a two-shilling piece—he thought it advisable that such a coin should be struck; and it would be a great step towards the establishment of a decimal coin- age. If the people of this country became accustomed to the use of such a coin, a very important step would be gained towards the introduction of a decimal sys- tem of coinage; and if the prejudices of the people were so strong in favour of the present coinage that it was not deemed advisable to carry the decimal system further, the issue of two-shilling pieces would not at all interfere with the exist- ing coinage. Having said thus much, if the motion were pressed by his honour- able friend, he must move the previous question.
Mr. Sum said that he had suggested such a measure to Sir Charles Wood; and he read a reply from Sir Charles, much to the same effect as the speech just delivered. Be also consulted others on the subject— He communicated with Mr. Trevelyan ; who referred the matter to Mr. Pen- nington; who suggested some of the disadvantages incidental to the introduction of a decimal system. That gentleman, speaking of Mr. De Morgan's plan, pub- lished in the British Aintattack of 1841, said—" In this way a decimal currency and a decimal coinage might no doubt be established; but mark the consequence. A labourer, whose wages were 10d. a day, and who at the end of a week might be in possession of 60 pennies, or 240 cents, (alias farthings,) would find that he could obtain for his 60d., or 240 farthings, not 5a. in silver, but only 48. 10d. Again, a shopkeeper, who had been in the habit of selling an Irticle for 3.3., and who expected that when he had sold four of these articles he would have received money of the value of is., would find that he had received five per cent less than the sum he had calculated upon. In short, bickerings and misunderstand- ings in all dealings of less value than a shilling would certainly occur." Mr. Shell had consulted some gentlemen who were eminent for their knowledge of the science of numbers, and who were also practically versed in the commercial ap- plication of numbers; and they did not entirely coincide with Mr. Pennington. They thought there would be no difficulty whatever in the introduction of a de- cimal coinage with regard to any sum above Gd. If a coin of the value of 2s. were issued, and also coins of the value of 24d., or 2 2-5d., and if cents were issued at the rate of 100 to the 2s., it would be very easy to issue a coin worth 50 cents, or 18.; on the reverse of which might be inscribed "one shilling, equal to 50 cents," and also coins worth 25 cents, or 6d., and l21, cents, or 3d. In a short time all new contracts would be made in the new coin.
The decimal coinage was supported by Mr. STAFFORD O'BRIEN, Sir GEORGE CLERK, and Mr. WILLIAM BROWN. Satisfied with the statement of Sir Charles Wood, Dr. BOWRING obtained leave to withdraw his motion.
On Thursday, Dr. BowEnsa developed a proposition for a better mode of keeping the public accounts; and moved a series of resolutions of the following import— It appears by official returns, that a sum exceeding 7,000,000/. sterling is an- nually expended in the different departments of Government, without being paid into the Exchequer: 6,152,395/ is deducted by various departments from the gross receipts of the revenue; and 909,610/ is received by various departments of ex- penditure from sources independent of Parliamentary or Exchequer controL It
▪ af-sirams mar rs, sums should be received without being paid into the Exche-
quer, or expended without a Parliamentary vote. Therefore the gross revenant Should be all paid into the Exchequer; and an annual estimate of expense in sash department laid before Parliament for approval. This principle was adopted by the House in respect of the Crown Colomes, and was recommended by the Coin- missioners of Public Accounts in 1881.
The names of' those Commissioners, Dr. Bowring observed, were " Henry Parnell, [Lord Congleton,] [Lord) John Russell, Sir James Graham, James Kemp, Charles Poulett Thompson, [Lord Sydenham,1 Francis Baring, and Edward Ellice." In France, the public accounts are kept in all the departments on a uniform plan: they are thus easily compiled, and are blended without difficulty in the general balance-sheet of the Finance department. Some departments of' the English public service—the Home Office, Foreign Office, Army, Navy, and Ordnance—annually submit their accounts to Parliamentary revision: why should not the Customs, Excise, Stamps and Taxes, and Post-office do the same?
Dr. Bowring's proposition was supported by Mr. WILLIAM WiLmems, and Mr. Hann.
Sir CHARLES WOOD said, that great improvements had already been in- troduced into the public accounts; and a more correct auditing has been extended to the Army, Ordnance, and Commissariat. He did not dispute the principle of Dr. Bowring's proposition; but he thought the enormous mass of details would render it impracticable; and the expenses of the public departments of collection, in proportion to revenue, had actually been decreasing.
Mr. FRANCIS BARING said that he had, no doubt, concurred in the view of the report cited by Dr. Bowring; but he had subsequently submitted the re- commendation to the late Lord Spencer, who was of opinion that the disad- vantages would decidedly outbalauee the advantages of the plan; and that opinion had thoroughly modified the views of the Commissioners. Mr. Baring showed that the expenses had been increasing in the departments subject to Parliamentary control, from 18,000,000/. in 1822 to 22,800,000/ in 1846; while, in the same period, they had been decreasing in the depart- ments not subject to Parliamentary control, from 5,688,000/ to 4,639,0001.
Sir JAMES GRAFIAM and Lord JOHN RUSSELL corroborated what Mr. Baring had stated about the reference to Lord Spencer; and avowed the same change of opinion.
Content with the discussion of the subject and the recognition of his prin- ciples, Dr. BOWRING obtained leave to withdraw his motion.
On Monday, before proceeding with the order of the day, Lord Joint Russeu. made some explanation in reply to the remarks of Mr. Philip Howard on Friday evenng.
On Saturday the 17th. after having attended a meeting of the Cabinet Coun- cil, as Lord John Russell was about to pass the Sunday a few miles out of toes, carrying with him a large bundle of pamphlets on the subject of education, he received a note from Bishop Griffiths, asking an interview for three of the Catho- lic Bishops "as to the education of the poor Catholic children "; Bishop Griffiths requesting this interview "before any measure is introduced on the subject" Lord John understood that letter to relate to the subject of the education of chil- dren of poor Roman Catholics. He had to meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer early on the Monday, on a subject connected with the finances of the country, sad then to state to the House on Monday afternoon the measure of education pro- posed by the Committee of the Privy Council. He did not think it absolutely necessary to see the Roman Catholic Bishops in the interval; nor if he had would there have been time to assemble the Committee and alter the arrangement. He therefore sent this answer—" Lord John Russell presents his compliments to Bishop Griffiths, and will name a day for receiving the deputation of Catholic Bishops before the introduction of any measure relating to the education of the children of poor Catholics." He intended that any ineasnre relating to the educa- tion of such children should be considered by the Roman Catholic Bishops.
Having explained this matter, Lord John begged leave to add the hope, that it was now fully understood that there was no intention whatever on the part of Government to exclude Roman Catholic schools from the bene- fit of the grant of the State for the purposes of education. There are diffi- culties. For instance, if clergymen of the Church of England, or all per- sons in holy orders, are excluded from the office of teacher, it would not be right to grant money to Roman Catholic schools, and to permit any person in holy orders, whether of the secular or of the regular clergy, to be paid as schoolmasters. He understood that there are Roman Catholics not in orders—such as the Christian Brethren—who have been very active in the business of education. That is a matter that would require a great deal of consideration; and any minutes on that subject must be framed with great care— "1 can only say, therefore, that we shall in a very short time pay attention to this subject. Whether we shall be able to frame those minutes in a very short time, or whether it may not be necessary first to have some inspection of Roman Catholic schools, and some report on them, I cannot say: I only beg to assure the House, that, as far as we are concerned, there is no intention whatever of exclu- ding Roman Catholics; and I think the grants for education ought to be made as useful as possible for all classes of her Majesty's subjects." (Cheers.)
In reply to Sir GEORGE CLERK, Lord JOHN RUSSELL said, the intention of the grant was, that aid should be given in support of voluntary societies and voluntary contributions; and therefore the parish schoolmaster in Scot- land, who receives his stipend by law, will not be entitled to any benefit from the grant.
The order of the day having been read for bringing up the report on the Education vote from the Committee of Supply, Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTR rose to move an amendment. He begau, however, by remarking, that Lord John Russell had forgotten to read the concluding passage of his note to Bishop Griffiths; which is this- " Her Majesty's Ministers, however, have no intention of promulgating any minutes of Council upon the subject at present." Sir William had received a petition from Manchester, emanating from a public meeting of Roman Catholics, and expressing the strongest regret at the exclusion of Catholics from participation in the Government grant. His amendment was- " That any minute of the Committee of Privy Council on Education, or other regulation, which excludes the Roman Catholics from participating in any grant of public money for the purposes of education, by requiring in all schools which receive such grants of public money the use of the authorized version of the Scrip- tures, is inexpedient, and ought to be rescinded."
He called upon Government fairly to meet his resolution as if it were an
amendment in a clause of a bill for aiding education. He reminded them that the real battle for the measure had not been waged in that House, but out of doors; and that he had taken no inactive part in the defence. Ile had done it under the full belief that all sects of Christians would he equally entitled to participate in the proposed grant ot public money.
It was therefore with great grief that he found both he and others had been deceived. To show the extent to which the exclusion will practically affect the Roman Catholics, he quoted Sir Robert Peel's statement, that in Manchester alone 60,000 or 70,000 Irish remain destitute of' education. He estimated the total number of Roman Catholics in the country at 800,000. He cited the official corre- spondence with Mr. Langdale to disprove the assertion that no specific ap- plication for aid had been made by the Roman Catholics: Mr. Langdale had applied for aid towards the erection of four Roman Catholic schools in the town of Blackburn. Sir William referred to Mr. Macaulay's boast of the "perfect impartiality" of the system; and eloquently exposed the gross partiality of the scheme which excludes 800,000 of the most ancient, renowned, and numerous sect of Christians. He had endeavoured to shape his motion in such a way as not to interfere with the functions of the Com- mittee of Council. The object of it was simply to cancel the doubtful interpretation which has been put upon the Minutes of the 3d Decem- ber 1839, and to restore the Catholics to the position which their Bishops and the majority of persons supposed they held up to the 14th of April With regard to Parliamentary grants. He called upon Lord Morpeth, who said that he could not sanction the exclusion of the Roman Catholics— upon Sir George Grey, who said they had just ground of complaint—upon Sir Robert Peel, who said that there ought to be no misunderstanding upon the subject—to vote for his resolution. He closed with an appeal to the house to act with fearless frankness- " It is said that it is inexpedient at present to raise this question. Why inex- pedient? Because, it is said, there is a feeling out of doors against Roman Ca- tholics, and a general election is at hand. I think that feeling is overrated. But suppose that antipathy to Catholics does prevail out of doors: do we share in that feeling? I believe not. Are we bound to yield to it? What are our duties as Members of this House? Are we representatives, or delegates ? Are we bound to exercise our own independent judgment on every subject, or simply to register the edicts of the electoral body? Are we bound to act for the benefit of all, or merely to consult the prejudices each of his own constituents? Sir, the six hun- dred and fifty gentlemen who are Members of this House constitute a body of men whose superior or equal, as a body, I believe cannot be found in this country or in the world. As a body, I believe wears in advance of public opinion. From us the people chiefly acquire their political knowledge. We are their chosen leaders —ought to be their instructors and teachers. Solemn and sacred duties, therefore, devolve upon us, and no duty more important than that of reproving the pre- judices and correcting the errors of the people. I consider that a seat in this as- sembly is the highest dignity and honour that can be bestowed upon an English gentleman, when it is obtained by an honest expression of sincere convictions and by a conscientious performance of duties. On the other hand, if it be obtained by paltry truckling to vile prejudices, it is a disgrace and a reproach to a man. "It is true that we are on the eve of a general election. Let us not go before the people as craven cowards shrinking from a great question. Let us tell them
our honest convictions; show them that we are in earnest by our votes; boldly meet them on the hustings; call upon them to ratify our conduct; and they will do so in the teeth of their prejudices." (Much cheering.)
Sir GEORGE GREY retracted nothing from what he had said in the last debate; but he did not think that Sir William Molesworth had taken the most satisfactory mode of carrying out his own views. Sir William had intimated that if Ministers would pledge themselves to submit minutes to the House, this session, respecting aid for Roman Catholic schools, the mo- tion would not be pressed. Sir George could not give a specific pro- mise on the subject; but in abstaining from this, Ministers had no wish to take advantage of the coming election. They wished to enter into the consideration of the subject unfettered and unpledgmd, except by the pledge he had already given, that the subject should have the best and early at- tention of the Government.
Lord HARRY VANE and several other Members expressed themselves fully satisfied with the assurances of Ministers; and on that account urged Sir William Molesworth to withdraw his motion, otherwise it would incur the apparent resistance of several Members who were favourable to it, but who thought it not advisable to press his views farther at that time. The motion was directly opposed by Sir ROBERT INGLIS and BOMB other Members, on its principle, as being hostile to religious education and the stipulated use of the authorized version of the Scriptures. Sir Robert Inglis strongly questioned Sir William Molesworth's estimate of the Ro- man Catholics; which he supposed to be really about 300,000. He also indulged in some side-hits at Sir Robert Peel, as endeavouring to outbid the present Ministers for popular favour. Sir ROBERT PEEL replied to that attack, and turned the assailant's sta- tistics against himself. If he were bidding for popular favour, he doubted whether it would be obtained by expressing his opinion against the exclu- sion of Roman Catholics. Sir Robert Inglis said that the number of Ro- man Catholics in England does not exceed 300,000. Be it so; but then, what political object can be answered by recommending that justice should be done to the hundred-and-twenty-eighth part of the population. Mr. Plutnptre had charged Sir Robert Peel and other supporters of the measure, not with impolicy or rashness, but absolutely with "infidelity "— " This is not the place to make professions of faith; and no words that can fall from that honourable gentleman shall induce me to say one harsh word with re- spect to him. But as to infidelity, I say at once, that I cannot believe—and I say
it with all reverence—that that God who is the anther of peace and lover of con- cord—who gave us his commandment that we should -believe in the name of
Jesus Christ and love one another,—I cannot believe, I say, that that Almighty God will think that we are fulfilling that commandment when we hate one an- other, and allow thousands and tens of thousands of children, who ought, what- ever be their form of faith, to believe in the name of Jesus Christ, to pass through this mortal life and be launched into eternity without having ever heardof the name of Jesus Christ; for such is a true statement with respect to the present position of education in some parts of this country. It would be much better for us to make allowances for the imperfections of human nature, and to permit each of us to act with the presumption that we are actuated by honest motives: and I doubt the justice, policy, or true tolerance of meeting the proceedings of those who may think it proper and advisable to adopt a particular measure, by such charges as have been thrown out."
Mr. ROEBUCK said, that if Ministers would declare that the Roman Catholics should be included in the vote of 100,0001., or that another vote
for them should be brought in, his voice should not be heard for the next week. (Laughter and cheers.) Meanwhile, however, be asked why dis- tinguished Roman Catholics in this House were silent?--alluding, though not by name, to Mr. Sheil and Mr. Wyse.
How came it that his CMr. Shell's) voice was silent, whilst the discussion was left to those who were enjoying nothing, gaining nothing, and hoping for nothing, when they who, from their position and from the favour they had received, ought to be foremost, were without voice? He could not suppose that the fetters of
office or personal considerations could have tied that eloquent tongue: but there mast be some great reason that bound down that mighty giant and made him upon this occasion as silent and useless as a baby, leaving this vital question to be fought by those whom an honourable gentleman, who had spoken that evening, had called the enemies of his faith. "Enemy of his faith!" Mr. Roebuck said he was not an enemy of any man's faith; but if his faith were neglected by the Government, he would not be a silent spectator of their proceedings. He knew why the noble Lord had acted as he had done—he fancied that the people out of doors were against him. But the noble Lord did not promise them that he would bring forward any vote, as the right honourable gentlemen who had just sat down had supposed. Again Mr. Roebuck objected to the whole principle of the Government scheme; which proposes to give money where money is given, and does not distribute it to the most ignorant and indigent parts. Ministers had voted eight millions for the charitable relief of the Irish people, hoping to con- ciliate a large proportion of her Roman Catholics; but now, when called upon to let the Catholics participate in the advantages of the grant, they make it the battle-field of ignorant prejudice and bigotry—an insult to the Irish people. Lord John Russell smiled, relying upon his majority—
Bat the time might come when there :might not be so ready a majority to be had. The time might come, too, when other imputations than those involved in the " No Popery "crymight be made against them. It might be said there was a i
body of men placed n office without any merits of their own, by the mere fan tastic turnings of fortune. It might be said that they remained in office without anything to rest upon but the extravagant dissensions of their most unwise opponents. There might be such a thing said in history as that this body played the game of " in" against those that were "out," and that, wishing to retain the pleasant pillows and couches of office as long as possible, they thought that all their energies should be directed to framing measures which should keep them in place, without the slightest regard to the public weaL Lord Joust RUSSELL declared that he had no further explanation to give— He was satisfied with the confidence expressed by the speakers in that debate: he was satisfied with the distrust expressed by the honourable and learned Mem- ber for Bath, and did not conceive that any farther explanation was necessary. Mr. Roebuck said eight millions had been given to conciliate the Roman Catho- lics of Ireland: it had never entered the imagination of Ministers that in advan- cing money to prevent the Irish from starving, they were conciliating any class of the _people. They had given the same advantage to Presbyterian Scotland as to Roman Catholic Ireland. Mr. Roebuck adverted to his smiling, but mistook the cause: he had smiled at one of that gentleman's remarks, recollec- ting a proposal actually made in the Privy Council, that the rule for distributing aid under the education grant should be the poverty of the respective districts. "But the honourable and learned gentleman went on to say,. it may happen by some accident, there may be a Ministry in power, which, having no merits of its own, may have risen to that power by the mistakes of its opponents. That may very well happen. But, Sir, there are other things which may happen also. It may happen that a city in the %Vest of England may choose for its representa- tive in this House, a gentleman who, without ever producing any wise measureof his own, may think it enough to carp and cavil at every other measure that may be produced; a gentleman who, although he would attract little attention if he merely gave out his own theories which are generally totally inapplicable to the country to which be belongs, and altogether at variance with the opinions of those he addresses, yet does attract a considerable degree of attention, because it is known that one party or the other, and every party by turns, in this House, will come in for a great deal of very sharp abuse exp:eased in very epigrammatic language. It may happen that a city in the West may have the caprice to send such a Member to this House; and such a Member, we nig expect, if heis speak- ing of a right honourable gentleman who has been at the head of the Govern- ment of this country, will imagine no better motive for him when he de- clares that he wishes poor Roman Catholics to be educated, than that he is endeavouring to outbid those who are at present the occupants of the Trea- sury bench; and speaking of those in power, and of the relief they have been enabled to afford to the people of Ireland, will imagine no better reason for this than that they were endeavouring to conciliate a particular class of her Majesty's subjects. In short, there will be one characteristic about all his conduct—that he never will be able to conceive that there is any wisdom in the plans or any generosity in the motives of other Members of this House, whether they happen to be in the Government or out of the Government, whether they belong to one party or another. I should say that such a Member would take a very false es- timate both of parties and of individuals." (All this personal assault was much cheered.)
In deference to the general feeling with respect to the Ministerial as- surances already made, Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH would not divide the House, but desired permission to withdraw his amendment. That pro posal was resisted, more especially by Mr. JOHN COLLETT and Mr SHARMAN CRAWFORD; and the House was forced to a division. The nuns hers were—For the amendment, 22; against it, 203.
Mr. EwART moved another resolution, he effect of which was, that children whose parents objected to the religions instruction given in any school might be allowed to withdraw; and that the promised Government appointments should not be reserved for unsuccessful candidates for exhi bitions in the Normal Schools, but thrown open to free competition. This amendment was opposed by Sir GEORGE GREY, as similar to that advanced last week by Sir William Clay; and after a brief discussion it was withdrawn Sir GEORGE CLERK reverted to the question of Scotch schoolmasters; contending that legal provision ought to be made for increasing their sala- ries and extending to them the benefit of the grant.
Mr. HUME dissented; maintaining that the principle of the Scotch pa- rochial schools—the local assessment of property in the neighbourhood—is the proper one, and that it would be better to adopt that system in Eng- land than to extend the English plan to Scotland.
Lord Joust RUSSELL also observed, that if aid were given to schools supported by assessment in Scotland, it must be given to endowed schools in England. However' he was ready to consider the question in Council.
The report from the Committee of Supply was then received.
SALE OF ENCITMBERED ESTATES IN IRELAND.
In the House of Lords on Tuesday, the LORD CHANCELLOR moved the Sale of Encumbered Estates (Ireland) Bill; which he explained; but his explanation was nearly inaudible, and the more difficult to report from its technicality. He described the peculiar difficulties under which the Irish proprietor of an encumbered estate labours; the income going to the mort gagees, who have no interest in the improvement of the land whence it is drawn; while the individual owner cannot easily raise money for the pur- pose, the title-deeds being in the hands of the first mortgagee. In Ireland, the Court of Equity cannot, as in England, say to the mortgagee, "If you do not pay the money the mortgage shall be foreclosed." Expenses too are very heavy. It was proposed by his bill, that parties should be enabled at once to apply to the Lord Chancellor, by petition ; the pnslimi nary machinery proving quite useless. This would simplify the proceed- ings and save expense. He proposed that where the estate was worth more than the encumbrance, it should be sold; the money should be paid into Court; and any litigation arising should take place with respect to the money, not the estate.
Approval of the measure was expressed by the Marquis of WESTMEATH, the Earl of WICKLOW, and Lord MONTEAGLE. Lord ASHBURTON Said a few words which were inaudible.
The bill was read a second time.
POOR-LAW FOR IRELAND.
In the Upper House, on Thursday, the Marquis of LANSDOWNE moved the second reading of the Poor-relief (Ireland) Bill; with an explanatory statement. He devoted a good deal of time and pains to show that the bill is not a permanent remedy for the distress which exists in Ireland, but only a palliative; that it does not confer a general, permanent, and indiscri- minate right to out-door relief; and therefore is not a confiscation of pro- perty in Ireland. Had it involved that principle, he should have been the last person to propose it to their Lordships. Such a right to indiscriminate relief would be fatal to the prosperity of the country, and impossible to maintain. He contended that there is no safety for Ireland but in a great, extensive, and permanent change in the pursuits, habits, and agricultural industry of the people: it must be of a new character—must pervade dis- tricts hitherto untouched even by the spade—must pervade the landlords as well as the labourers. It would be difficult to say when it might occur; but Ireland must be helped through the transition. Relief therefore would be given, but temporary in duration and guarded from abuses. Out-door relief is only to be established in any district by special order from the Poor-law Commissioners, and is not to last longer than two months except upon a renewal of the order. He vindicated Irish land- lords from being specially obnoxious to the accusation of having caused the evils of Ireland; said a few words for absentees; but pointed out that the bill would remove one cause of complaint against absentees—that of neglecting the poor. He hoped that no amendment would be made [like Lord George Bentinck's] to throw the whole burden of the rates upon the tenants. He farther explained some provisions of the bill; and observed that it was ancillary to other measures; a few of which he enumerated, —such as the bill to facilitate the sale of estates in Ireland; one for the reclamation of waste lands by enabling landlords to improve their estates, the second reading of which he should have to move when this was dis- posed of; and the grant of 500,0001. to one of the main trunk railways: all necessary measures, but at the best only palliatives.
The bill was supported by the Earl of St. GERMANS, the Marquis of CLANILICARDE, the Earl of DESART, and the Earl of COLCHESTER; opposed by the Earl of CLANCARTY, (who moved that it be read a second time that day six months,) Lord MONTEAGLE, the Archbishop of Drumm, and Lord Bnounnem. Lord STANLEY criticized the bill, but did not oppose it. It was argued on grounds identical with those advanced in former debates in both Houses: we therefore notice only some of the newer points.
The Earl of St. GERMANS mentioned that the total amount of rates im- posed in Ireland for the relief of the poor, in 1846, was 426,816L : the es- timatedssalue of property is 13,200,0001% -which would make the assess- ment for the poor only 74d. lathe pound, or allowing for medical and other voluntary assessments of a charitable kind, only 94d. Lord STANLEY af- terwards denied this: he had been assessed as high as 6s. in the pound; and he knew of cases where the assessment amounted to 20s. and more.
Touching upon the constitution of the Boards of Guardians, and the complaint that the bill allows too many ex-officio Guardians, Lord St. GER- mANs suggested, that where the ex-officio Guardians exceed the elected Guardians in number, the Commissioners should be empowered to authorize an increase of the elected Guardians to equalize the number.
Lord STANLEY denied the transitory character ascribed to the bill by Lord Lansdowne: it makes relief of destitution no longer discretionary, but mandatory and imperative. Workhouse accommodation is manifestly de- ficient, and must be extended as a check on the able-bodied. There will be no hope of working the measure except by uniting all classes in a com- mon endeavour to prevent lavish expenditure. He repudiated the accu- sations against the landlords; and insisted that in Ireland the landlord has not power over the tenant, but the tenant over the landlord. He con- tended that the bill would virtually impose on the landlord not half but two-thirds of the rates. He thought that the use of the plough instead of the spade would do more than the bill in diminishing the number of small holdings; as to direct dispossession of tenants that is the very thing that landlords cannot do; even the tenants of the Crown defy it on its own model estate, and hold the land without paying a farthing of rent. But in order to diminish the tendency to small holdings, he would impose such burdens on the occupation of land as would lessen the eagerness for it. Limited as the out-door relief was, he did not object to that. And he dis- claimed all intention of going into Committee with any other view than that of bringing the measure to a successful issue.
The bill was read a second time, without division.
On Monday, Earl GREY moved the second reading of She Army Ser- vice Bill; and made a long statement on the progress of military reform within the last quarter of a century. He contrasted the severity of punishment in former times—so late as 1825 a man was sentenced to 1,900 lashes, and actually received 1,200—with the present gradual abolition of corporal punishment. He described the improvement of the barracks; the improvement in provisions—soldiers in the West Indies now having comparatively little salt provisions, &c. Still, however, there is more to be done, particularly in the encouragement of the good soldier; who, excepting in the escape from punishment, is not in a much better position than the bad soldier.
One great objection to the profession of a soldier is that it is regarded as a state of slavery, on account of the enlistment for life. Now the prin- ciple of this bill is, that the soldier should not be enlisted for life, but for a limited period—
Once create in the minds of the soldiers and the people of this country an im- pression that to be dismissed from the Army was not a reward but a punishment, and, practically, they would have got rid of the difficulty. In the Police force nobody ever thought of the necessity of corporal punishment, because a man on committing a fault was dismissed; and that dismissal was felt to be a very severe punishment. He wished to see a state of things established by which they could say to the men in the service, that if they were not good soldiers they should not stay in the Army—that if they did not behave themselves they should not have the advantage of serving in it; and he believed they were not so far from arriving at that state of matters as might be supposed. He believed it was altogether in- consistent with the object of getting rid of bad soldiers to maintain enlistment for life.
Great stress had been laid on the presumption that regiments would lose their best men with a ten-years limit of service. Experience has not jus- tified the presumption—
In 1829, Lord Hardinge introduced the plan of allowing men a free discharge after sixteen years' service; a period reduced to twelve years by Mr. Sidney Her- bert in 1845; and from a memorandum in Lord Grey's hands he found that the number of soldiers who, during the fifteen years between 1830 and 1844, under the reduced service, were discharged without any gratuity, amounted to fifty-three annually in the whole British Army; being less than one man for every two re- giments.
Objections had been taken to the small amount of pensions to be allowed-
' He did not deny that it was too small; but the subject was full of difficulties. Formerly, when Is. a day was allowed, the pension being equal to the pay, there was no inducement for the soldier to remain in the Army; and a man who had destroyed his constitution obtained his discharge, while the well-behaved and temperate man was detained. Soldiers enlisting after 1832 or 1833 are not en- titled by twenty-one years' service to a higher pension than 6d a day. This regulation erred on the opposite side: it WRS no sufficient reward to the good sol- dier. Under Mr. Herbert's measure of 1845, a soldier recommended for good conduct may have 4d a day added to the pension of 6d. It had now been sag. gested that the minimum pension of 6d. should be increased to 8d., which would make in all ls. a day for the good soldier. That suggestion should receive the most attentive consideration.
Viscount COMBERMERE made some observations against the bill; and moved that it be read a second time that day six months.
The Duke of WELLINGTON, speaking from the Ministerial side, supported
the bill. He called upon the House to do nothing which should deprive this country of the services of old soldiers; but having maturely deliberated upon the bill, it was his opinion that it would not lead to any diminution of the number of old soldiers in the service. Old soldiers are absolutely necessary even to the existence of the Army- " Although this country has been under the protection of treaties of peace for thirty years and more, I have, during that time, had under my consideration military operations of great extent and importance, not only in the Mediterranean, but in North and South America, in South Africa, and all over Asia nearly at the same time; and if you had not had the highest discipline and the hest troops in the world, it would not have been possible for you to carry on those operation& Look at the case of China. In that case it was necessary to transport mops from Australia, and land them in China, where they were called upon to act on rivers, in creeks, and upon islands, in concert with the ships of her Majesty. They succeeded in effecting all that was expected from them. How was that done? It was done by the discipline of your troops—the discipline maintained by the old soldiers. They were the men who led the young ones; and, acting together, they are able to achieve any conquest. I may refer to another transac- tion which was mentioned in one of the despatches of my noble friend Lord Hardinge. One night during the operations against the Sikhs, a regiment was lying on their arms, and Lord Hardinge was lying on the ground at their head. The enemy opened a fire upon them, and annoyed them very much; in conse- quence of which, my noble friend ordered the regiment to rise and advance upon the guns. The order was obeyed, and the guns were captured. This was at night, remember. Now, my Lords, I ask whether such a feat could have been performed, under such circumstances, except by old soldiers? It would have been impossible. Bear in mind the conduct of the Emperor Napoleon with re- spect to old soldiers; remember the manner in which he employed them. Re- collect, too, how much they are prized by every power all over the world: and then I will once more entreat your Lordships, never to consent to any measure which would deprive her Majesty's service of old and experienced men, and thus pave the way for disasters which would assuredly follow when the army should come to be employed in war."
It is now proposed that men should enlist for a limited period of ser- vice—
" The noble Earl who so ably addressed your Lordships in moving the second
reading of this measure anticipates that one of its consequences will be that a superior description of men will be induced to enlist in the service of her Ma- jesty. I sincerely hope that such a result will follow from the adoption of the measure; but I confess I very much doubt it. ("Hear, hear! "from the
itws.) But, putting that out of the question, I believe that, looking at all the
circumstances of the case—looking at the advantages held out to the soldier, in the rewards for good conduct given after five, ten, fifteen, and twenty years of service, the Army will suffer no injury from the measure, and that the soldiers will reenlist at the end of ten years' service. That being my opinion, I requested the noble Lord at the head of the Government and the Secretary at War, to insert in the Mutiny Bill, and into the present measure, a clause to enable men to reenlist at the end of ten years. I believe that, under the circumstances, they will re- enlist. I therefore have no objection to try again the measure of limited enlist- ment; and I entreat your Lordships to adopt the measure. It is my firm belief that this measure will make no difference in respect of the number of old soldiers in the Army." Earl Grey had shown that a well-conducted soldier would be entitled to a pen.
sion of Is. per day after twenty-one years' service; which is the retiring allowance of 1806. He will be further entitled at the end of twenty years' service to a bounty of 51. "1 maintain that, in consequence of these rewards for good con- duct, men will acquire the habits and qualifications which are the characteristics of good soldiers, and become much attached to the profession in which they enjoy so much comfort; and, knowing the advantage which they will eventually obtain —an advantage possessed by no man in any other walk of life—they will be de- sirous of reenlisting and remaining in the Army. All I desire is, that they should so remain, and give their country the benefit of their services daring the whole period for which they are capable of serving. I do not desire this for the sake of the commanding-otficers: i know that commanding-officers are naturally anxious to have old soldiers in their regiments instead of young men; but I do not take their wishes into consideration; I desire it for the sake of the public ser- vice. All that I can say is that I shall do my best to carry the measure into execution, and to see it fairly adopted; and, being convinced that it can be adopted without the risk of losing the services of the old soldiers of the Army, and being certain that it is the wish of her Majesty's Ministers, as it is mine, to retain the old soldiers in the Army, I earnestly recommend your Lordships to let this measure pass." The Duke sincerely wished that circumstances might enable them to di- minish corporal punishment still more, and that at length it may be entirely superseded-
" The Mutiny Bill which was lately passed contains another measure, with the view of enabling the officers of the Army to do without corporal punishment. The Mutiny Bill authorizes the officers to commute sentences of corporal punishment for other punishments which they are enabled to inflict. I have no doubt that use will be made of that authority, in order still further to diminish the amount of corporal punishment."
The Duke of RICHMOND, who was the first to speak after the Duke of
Wellington, condemned the bilL He did not believe in the necessity for change, and foresaw considerable difficulties from the measure.
Lord STANLEY observed, that the object of the measure is to make the Army popular: Lord Grey supplied no proof that the Army is unpopular; or if it were so, that the measure would render it popular—
It was said that the bill would introduce a better class: better for what pur- pose? in what way ? Better as soldiers? Where would they find better soldiers? Certainly not if they recruited their army from lawyers' clerks, hankers' clerks, mid such classes of persons; they would be the worst soldiers and the most tur- bulent men. Ile did not Lelieve that recruits calculated the term which they bad to serve. If any do so, the calculation must be made by headstrong and ungovernable boys, whom the limited enlistment may induce in a moment of dis- obedience to rush into the service; and he predicted that the limited enlistment would also induce numbers of men serving in Canada, while half drunk, to cross the frontier and enter the American service.
Lord BROUGHAM was more alarmed than he could well express at the measure before the House. No doubt, the Duke of Wellington was the highest possible authority on such a subject; but in point of fact the Com- mander-in-chief had never recommended the proceeding—
With his usual circumspection, which was so large—with his sagacity, which was so great—and his providence, which was so safe—he never could have given such advice. When a gentleman once asked the Doke for materials to write the history of the battle of Waterloo, the Duke replied, "If you wish it, I will give you the information; but my advice is, leave the battle of Waterloo alone." Now Lord Brougham's advice was, leave the British Army alone. It is the best army —the best drilled, the beet trained, the best commanded army in Europe, or in the world, or that the world ever saw, or ever was likely to see again. What the Duke had said respecting the old soldiers was enough to awaken his suspicions as to the consequences of this measure. There were the greatest inconsistencies in the statements made to support it: the bill itself is full of contradictions. For instance, it fixed periods of ten or twelve years for enlistment; but if a recruit is guilty of bad conduct, then he is dismissed at once. Is not this favouring the bad soldier? In short, Lord Brougham disliked all interference between the Crown and the soldier, and disapproved the very measure which went to restrain the power of the Crown in dealing with enlistments.
The other speakers were Lord DE ROS, and the Marquis of LANSDOWNE, who supported the bill; the Duke of CLEVELAND, and the Earl of HARD- WICKE, who opposed it; and Lord STRAFFORD, whose speech was in- audible.
Earl GREY briefly replied; retorting upon Lord Brougham— In June '811v Lord Brougham made a speech against flogging in the Army: he did not then say "let the Army alone"; in fact, the speech he had just delivered was a general tissue of error based upon romance.
The House divided on the question of second reading—Content, 108; Non-content, 94; majority for the second reading, 14.
ENLISTMENT OF SEAMEN.
In the House of Commons, on Tuesday, Sir CHARLES NAPIER moved for leave to introduce a bill to amend the Seamen's Enlistment Act— If Governmeat now desired to man four or five sail of the line, it could only be done by "double bounties," and the expense would be two or three hundred thousand pounds; and moreover, such a proceeding would derange the whole commercial marine. His bill would enable the Queen either in peace or in war to call out all persons capable of doing duty as sailors to serve the Crown in the Royal Navy, in classes liable to one, two, three, and four years' service. Agree- ably to the plan at present laid down, the persons so called out would be entitled to double bounty. This would encourage a certain number to present themselves; but such as did not so come forward of course must be aware that they would be liable to impressment. If that did not suflice, he should propose that the masters of nierchant-vesseLi should be obliged to discharge such men in their employ- ment as were included in the classes he had already mentioned. At the same time, however, he also proposed that the seamen should not receive the doable bounty unless hostilities should actually have commenced; and he would define war to mean a war with any of the great nations of Europe, or with North Ame- rica. Ho would, however, reserve to the Government the power of extending the bounty in cases of little wars suck as those in Syria or China. Such a measure as he bad proposed was rendered absolutely necessary by the impossibility of re- viving, at the present day, the old system of impressment of seamen. The whole country would rise up against such a system, and the mercantile interest especially would be opposed to it. Nor did he think the ships' crews themselves would bear it. To enforce it, it would be necessary to have a regiment at every port in the kingdom.
Mr. Weans did not oppose the introduction of the bill, but would not pledge himself to the details of a measure which he had not seen.—Leave
given. NAVAL ARCHITECTURE.
A long debate arose on Thursday, on a motion by Mr. HUME. for "in- quiry into the state of the Navy since 1832, as regards the building, alter- ations, and repairs of her Majesty's ships." Mr. flume stated, that in the interval since 1832, when Sir William Symonds was appointed Sur- veyor of the Navy, the sums expended in shipbuilding operations have peen, 8,000,000/ for wages, and 14,000,000/ for stores, in all 22,000,0001.; of which 19,890,0001. had been expended chiefly in the construction of Sir William Syrnonds's vessels. Mr. Hume enumerated many ships built by Sir William, eking the most adverse reports respecting their qualities as to stowage, floatage, and fighting capacities. The Vernon pitched and shipped water; the Queen is defective in sailing qualities, &c. &a Mr. Hume also censured the breach of faith with the students of the School of Naval Architecture, which has been broken up.
Mr. Humes assault on the naval administration was echoed by Viscount Inoewran.
It elicited two replies; one from Mr. WARD, for the present Board of Admiralty. Without absolutely exoneratiug Sir William Symonds from every blame, Mr. Ward maintained that he was a very able person; and quoted reports from naval officers, making the most opposite representations as to several of the ships mentioned by Mr. flume.
Sir JAMES GRAHAM replied flu the late Board, and for himself as respon- sible for the appointment of Captain Symonds. In making the appoint- ment, he had acted under the recommendation of professional advisers. Although the Naval School had been broken up, he showed that several of the students had been appointed to places as master shipwrights or the like; and he cited other favourable reports on the vessels. One of those mentioned with censure by Mr. Hume was not built by Sir William Sy-
monds, but by Sir Robert Seppings. - Captain BBREELEY, Sir CHARLES NAPIER, and Mr. CORRY, followed up the naval criticisms; and then the House divided—For the motion, 13; against it, 66 JUVENILE OFFENDERS.
On Thursday, Sir JoHN PAS:MOTOR having moved the second reading of the Juvenile Offenders Bill, Mr. ROEBUCK moved that the bill be read a second time that day six months—
He objected to it on three grounds: first, because it tended to do away with juries; secondly, because the Justices would have the power of adjudicating on the cases that came before them in private, and not in public; and thirdly, because it gave to two Justices, and at last to one, on the confession of the person accused, the power of deciding in a summary manner. Those powers were too much vibe intrusted to the Maguitratee--possibly fox-hunting Justices.
Sir GEORGE GREY approved of the principle of the bill—the summary treatment of juvenile offenders; but much Sbjected to its details; and he could not hope that it would be put into such a shape during the present session as to receive the sanction of the Legislature— If summary jurisdiction were conceded at all, it ought to be exercised in public and not in private. There are other questions. Sentences are pronounced on children, of transportation for years' which no one would dream of carrying into effect; and it is desirable that such children should be kept in charge of Govern- ment rather than given back to their relatives, who have trained them in nothing but crime. That subject has a good deal occupied the attention of Government, and he hoped that before the close of the session he should be able to introduce a bill which would impose upon boroughs and counties the duty of providing a reform- atory asylum for offenders of that class. He wished Sir John Pakington's bill to be taken into consideration along with the other more general measure. A COI-. mime of the Lords is also sitting on the Criminal Law. On these accounts he deprecated hasty legislation. Mr. BASHES and several other Members, who approved of the object at which the bill aimed, also objected to its details, and urged Sir John Pa- kington to withdraw it. Sir JOHN PAKINGTON declined to do so; and quoted several legal au- thorities in support of his measure, including Sir Edward Ryan, head of the Criminal Law Commission—
He might remind them of what Sir Frederick Pollock, the Chief Baron, had upon a recent occasion done at Bury; and he believed that not even that learned person himself would pretend to say that the course which he took was legal. A juvenile offender was brought before him; the prisoner pleaded guilty; but the Chief Baron refused to let that plea be recorded, desired that the trial might pro- ceed, directed the Jury to acquit the prisoner; and the little culprit was imme- diately handed over to the care of his friends. When judges and courts were driven to adopt such modes of proceeding, it surely was time for the Legislature to interfere.
On a division, the second reading was carried, by 75 to 23.
THE ROYAL ABSENT was given, by commission, on Tuesday, to the Fever (Ireland) Bill.
THE RATING OF TENEMENTS BILL, to impose the payment of rates on the owners of small houses, was thrown out at the second reading, on Wednesday; Ministers opposing it.
Sraxis OF GREECE. On Tuesday, Lord Joust Idoesauts rose to call the at- tention of the House of Commons to the state of Greece. The Government has successively violated its pledges to give a constitution to the country, and to pay its loans. The country is a prey to anarchy and bankruptcy: its Finance Minis- ter is convicted of irregularities n accounts; its Government practises extortion, which provokes outrage. The most shameless perversion of law defeats such representative rights as the people have; while the open interference of France further degrades the nation. But in the midst of Lord John's speech, the House was "counted out."
SCOTCH REGISTRATION BILL. In reply to Sir ANDREW LEITH HAY, OR Monday, Mr. Rrrnerteuras said that the 12th clause of the Registration Bill (imposing registration duties on parish-schoolmasters) would not be maintained. The bill has been much misrepresented. It proposes to effect marriages by two processes—by registration, and by solemnization before a clergyman; registration not being essential to the latter process, but being enforced under penalties. Be- fore marriage there must be a residence for a certain period. One great object of the measure was to put a stop to Gretna Green marriages.
A NEW WRIT was ordered, an Thursday, for Galway, in the room of Mr. Thomas Martin, deceased.
PROGRESS OF RAILWAY BILLS IN THE HOUSE OF C031MONS.
Emu; READ • Frasr TIME. April ET.—Derbyshire-Staffordshire-and-Worcester- shire Junction.
Pananutts Paonnt Ix CommirrEs. April 27.—South-eastern (Mid Kent and Di- rect Tunbridge). South-eastern (Stroed to Maidstone). South-eastern (North Kent line). Herne-Ray-and-Canterbury Junction.
April 30.—Vale of Neath. Glasgow-Paisley-Kilmarnock and Ayr (with the excep- tion of a branch). Glasgow-Kilmarnock-and-Ardroesau (for a branch).