Vtitatto mar Vrgruhiugo lit Varliamtut
PRINCIPAL IttISINESS OF THE 'WEEK.
Honer ov Loans. Friday, March 12. Chancery Reform ; Lord Chancellor St. Leonard's announces his adhesion, with explanations.
Monday. March 15. Policy of the blinistg ; Lord Derby's Answer.
Tliesday, March 16. National Education in Ireland ; Lord Derby's Views.
Thursday, March 18. Constabulary Police and Rifle Corps ; Lord Derby in Answer to Lord Elicnborough—Criminal Lunatics ; Lord Shaftesbury's Resolution to peti- tion the Queen for a State Prison, debated and withdrawn.
Friday, March 19. Ministerial Policy; Lord Derby's Answer to the Duke of New- castle—Patent Amendment Law (No. 2) Bill, read a second time.
House OF CO11310148. Friday, March 12. Parliamentary Representation Bills, English, Scotch, and Irish ; Lord John Russell "postpones" them—Suitors in Chancery Relief Bill; Mr. Walpole accepts charge of the late Government's mea- sure—St. Alban's Disfranchisement Bill ; adopted by the new Government, and read a second time.
Monday, March 15. Policy of the new Ministry, Mr. VMiers's Question, debated —Committee of Supply. Tuesday, March .18. Notices of Motion ; by Mr. IL Berkeley on the Ballot, Mr. Locke King on the Franchise, Mr. Trelawny on Church-rates—Public-houses in Scotland; Jr. Forbes Mackenzie gives up his measure, proposed in Opposition— Railway from Glasgow to Oban; Motion by Mr. J. Stuart, debated and withdrawn— Crime and Outrage in Armagh, Monaghan, and Louth ; Select Committee given to Mr. Napier, Attorney-General for Ireland. Wednesday, March 17. Manchester and Salford Education Rill, referred to a Se- lect Committee—Pharmaceutical Chemists; Mr. Jacob Bell's Bill read a second time, and referred to a Select Committee.
Thursday, March 18. Outrages on Englishmen in Florence—Ouffe Street Savings- bank ; Motion for Compensation by Mr. John Reynolds, opposed by Government, and negatived by 169 to 40—Mr. Staney's Industrial and Provident Partnerships Bill, read a first time—House counted Out St eight o'clock.
Friday, March 119. National Education in Ireland—Irish Encumbered Estates Act, to be renewed—Ministerial Policy; Dissolution of Parliament—Passengers Act Bill, read a second tune.
Hour of Hour of Meeting. Adjournment.
Hour ef Hour of Meeting. Adjournment, Friday 5h . .-. eh tOm Friday 411 .... 7h SOnt Monday 6h . . Oh 45m Monday
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Tuesday Oh . . 71, 90d. Tuesday 411 ..... ilk Om Wednesday No Sitting. Wednesday Neon .... Sh BOra Thursday Oh . . 7k Om Thursday 411 . Oh Om Friday ,,,,„ Oh . 7h 45m Friday 4h .(m) 1h 1m Sittings this Week, 6; Time,1215 4051 Sittings this Week, 0; Time,98h 16na — this Session, 18; — 3615 10n5 — this Session. 99; — litek 15m
Patrol, or TRH NRW MINISTRY.
The scene of the political drama was shifted on Monday from the diningroom of Chesham Place to the chamber of the New House of Commons at Westminster. Members assembled in great numbers shortly after four o'clock, and installed themselves in their new places. On the Ministerial benches, were Mr. Bankes, Mr. Napier, Sir John Trollope, Mr. Whiteside, Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Walpole, Sir John Pakington, Mr. A. Staf- ford, and Mr. Henley. Behind them were the Marquis of Blaudford, Mr. Packs, Mr. George Frederick Young, Sir John 'Tyrrell, Sir John Walsh, and others i while below the gangway, Colonel Sibthorp, and many Agricultural Members, were posted. On the Opposition side, Lord Palmer- ston, backed by Mr. Monckton Manes, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Getilburn, and the mass of the Peelites, had taken their seats, and behind them the Irish Brigade. Above the gangway, and on the highest benches, were Me Cobden, Mr. Bright, and the Radicals; while the front row of the Oppositiou wat oecupied lay the late Ministers, Sir William Molesworth among them, Mr. Roebuck occupying the last seat on the left tank the Opposition. Both galleries were alsa full, the House being ram, crowded than it has beerr since the great debates on Free-trade in ledd linseidisposed the contest eammenced, aftersome preliminary busin • by the presentatioa of tire petitions,—one from Manchester, by Mr. Mr!, HER •OTBSON, and the other from Liverpool, by Mr. Wiitiiu both praying flic House to-take such measures as would assure the cons. try that no retrocession chiliad take place in the existing commercial Policy.
On the motion that the Speaker do now leave the chair,
Exchequer, Mr. Crusades VILLIERS rose to make, in accordance with an intima, tion to the Chancellor of the F " some inquiries with a view to obtaining from her Majesty's Ministers some information of the principles of that policy upon which the Government has undertaken to regulate the foreign commerce of this country, and more especially that branch of commerce which relates to the food of the people.' The subject is one on which it is not exaggerating to say that it is of vital concern to every subject of her Majesty ; one so intimately connected with the realities of English life as to affect the whole social and domestic eeo. nomy of the country—the finances, the labour, the capital, the trade, and the general condition of the people. In [reating it, if he should ' appear too warm, he hoped his motives would not be mistaken ; he trusted that it would not be thought that be was animated by any factious motives—by any party object. (Laughter from the Mansterid benches.) This his whole course in Parliament entitled him to ; got during the eighteen years he had been in the House. he had uniformly manifested a solicitude upon the subject. (General assent.) lie de- sired not to embarrass Government ; had no purpose to serve by placing them in a difficult position. He did not regret to see them in office; but indeed preferred to see them there, rather than pursuing the agitation of the last four or five years—an agitation one of the most reckless and inconsider- ate he had ever seen. It could not be said that this question is new to the Ministry, or that the solution of it M come upon them unpreparedly. With- out offence, he might say that " they are not known except as identified with this particular matter " ; and it is accurate to say that they have been preeminent as a party for the plain and consistent course they have taken on this question—for the union, perseverance, and determination which they have manifested to possess themselves of the government of the country with a view to the reversal of the Free-trade policy. This has been announced by their own distinguished leaders, and assumed by their distinguished oppo- nents. Lord Derby last year, in a speech made to encourage his fol- lowers to persevere, in the hope that they would one day achieve their . triumph, told them that in him they would find no hesitation, no flinching, no change of opinion ; he only looked for the moment when it would be possible to use the memorable words of the Duke of Wel- lington, "Up, Guards, and at them !" Lord Derby has formed the party and guided its movements : from the mode in which he started the policy, from the mode in which he has conducted it, and from his personal position, he is peculiarly responsible. He was the only Cabinet Minister who, possessing all the experience and the especial knowledge of office, felt himself bound to leave Sir Robert Peel on the question and opposed him upon it. It is he who has likened himself to the captain of a band at their heed, who has cherished their hopes, and promised the word of command for the onslaught; and, endowed with intellect of the highest order—possessing rank, fortune, and experience—his weight and influence are such that his followers in Parliament and in the country are almost justified in following him blindly. Therefore it is not unreasonable to psk of him, to ask of the Ministry at the head of which he presides, that he will tall when he is going to say to his soldiers, "Up and at them," and when the onslaught may be expected. Considering their professions in opposition' they are bound to leave us in no suspense now they have come to power. The condition of the country also makes it imperatively necessary that the reply sought should be given. Our trade has expanded to a great amount; our revenue, still in- creasing under diminished taxation, yields a surplus; capital was never nines abundant, and the people never more employed or better paid ; the evidence of medical science proves that the condition of the poor is so generally ame- liorated by more abundant and better food that even diseases and wounds in the hospitals are more easily cured and the percentage of life saved is a larger one. In the agricultural districts there never was a time when improvements were carried so far, and skill and economy applied with such effect. Mr. Pusey, as Chairman of a Jury of the Great Exhibition, reported to the Royal Commission, that the saving by improved machinery alone in the last ten years is little less than one half of the farmer's out- goings. There never was a time when people were more ready to invest their fortunes in agriculture, or to occupy farms wherever they become Va- cant. The Chancellor of the Exchequer confesses that the labouring classes have not suffered, but have been benefited, by the policy which the Protec- tionists- have proposed to reverse. None of the serious evils prognosticated to our maritime industry have befallen it : on the contrary, the Board of Trade returns show that our shipping constantly increases, especially in neutral markets. The Colonial Secretary, though he says he adheres to his opinions respecting protection to sugar, ewes up the measure that-he had given notice of for the present session. Sir John Pakington was on the Coffee and Sugar Plantation Committee, "and I sin convinced," said Mr. Villiers, "that the evidence there produced must lead him to the same conclusion as the noble Lord, whose loss I deplore, came to, and who said to me that in fact all the evi- dence went to show that it was not so much protection, but the restoration of slavery and the power to coerce the free labourers, that the parties wanted. This, however, I think the right honourable gentleman will admit, that not- withstanding this Free-trade policy in respect to the West Indies there never was a period when less of consplaint was heard than during the fast twelves' eighteen months. I do not say that the West Indies are prosperous, or that they have recovered from the consequences of losing slavery ; but the fact is, that during the last year we have heard fewer complaints, and the proprietors received remittances last year, though before they had been obliged to send out money. In many respects the general aspect of the West Indian Islands has im- proved." It appears, in short, that at home the country is not declining, but prospering ; that our dependencies, whether in America or Australia, commer- cially speaking, never promised better ; that abroad our Free-trade policy has produced a better feeling, by removing the cenviotion that we are selfish in our policy. Yet, with these fair prospects, there is from one end of the country to the other anxiety, apprehension, and uncertainty, because of the expectation of some great change. They believe that the gentlemen now in power are all pledged to reverse the policy of Free-trade, and they anticipate with alarm a struggle at the general election, when all the influence of the Government will be used towards that end. Contracts at home are left in completed, orders are suspended, foreign trade is beginning to feel a paraly- sis, while no one knows whether the duties on imports are to be as at present, and less, or to be raised to a protective amount. On these grounds," Rua Mr. Villiers, "I now distinctly ask the right honourable gentleman to come forward in the face of the country and the House, and make a candid, manly, and open avowal of the intentions of the Government on the subject of the policy regulating our foreign commerce. I ask the right honourable gentle- nap to tell us whether he intends, under any pretence whatever, or for any on to reimpose a duty on foreign corn ; and whether, in case of a dis- aolution of Parliament, he intends to propose any scheme of legislation which will raise the question of commercial policy generally, and an affecting the food of the people in particular, so that the judgment of the electors may be taken on the subject. So little am I actuated by party motives, that I declare solemnly. the answer most satisfactory to me, as I believe it would be
the most gratifying to the country, would be a declaration from the right honourable gentleman that the Government have not the least desire to dis- turb the policy which now exists and under which the country is prospering. The country wants no change of policy ; it wants no dissolution, no disturb- ance or struggle of any kind. They desire only to be allowed to remain in
their present prosperous condition ; and for this nothing is necessary but a declaration on the part of the Government that they do not intend to disturb the policy of Free-trade." Mr. DISRAELI presented himself in his new character as Chancellor of the Exchequer, to give the Ministerial explanations. No doubt, Mr. Villiers was impressed with a conviction of the truth of the picture he had drawn of the condition of England at this moment—a condi-
tion of distrust, apprehension, anxiety, and uncertainty. Mr. Disraeli heard
the description with surprise. He necessarily has communications with many persons of great eminence in the commercial world, men who are the
highest authorities in matters of trade and finance; and from their counte- nances he had not suspected the country to be in a state of paralysis; on the contrary, he had inferred, from their representations that the people are
in a state of contentment and prosperity. The present price of the Funds, that barometer of public opinion, gives no confirmation to these gloomy views, no indication of distrust or anxiety. With preliminary irony of this sort
sir. Disraeli passed on to most with a formal response the challenge of Mr. Villiers. "The honourable Member says that we are bound, now we are in power, to carry into effect the opinions we declared in opposition ; and he
quoted some words with which I concluded a speech of mmet in which I
predicted that if the then Government refused to listen to the claim of justice iliey would ultimately be defeated and justice would be conceded. I cannot think that was a fortunate quotation to make, considering that the motion I then
brought forward was not a fixed duty on corn, considering that it had nothing to do with taxing the food of the people, but was recommended to the House
as a measure of conciliation and compromise, and as a probable means of terminating the fatal controversy between great political interests. As far as regards my conduct on the occasion referred to, my task would indeed be easy.. I might take the expressions which the honourable gentleman quoted, and say I am prepared, to the best of my ability, to fulfil the spirit of the policy I recommended on the evening when I made that speech. But, with the per- mission of the House, I will not narrow my observations to that issue : I wish without reserve, fairly and frankly to express the feelings of the Government." First, however, he asked the House to consider the circumstances under which the gentlemen sitting on the Government benches acceded to office. Since the repeal of the Corn-laws a controversy has been maintained as to the policy of that measure. More than two years ago, Mr. Disraeli himself said that as the present House had by large majorities negatived motions made on the Protectionist side, he would no longer raise the question of Protection, but would confine himself to introducing measures totally independent of the abstract principle of Protection. He stated his opinion that the abstract
question was one which could be no longer considered in that House., but must be settled by an appeal to the country. The controversy being in that
altered position, there is suddenly and unexpectedly a change of Government, resulting from an adverse decision of the House of Commons on a question not involving in any way the question of Protection. Now, to all candid men, is there not a clear distinction between a party obtaining power by the profes- sion of what we in common parlance call a protective policy and finding them- selves in office, and a party who in opposition deprecated discussion of that policy, however they might have felt that the time might come when the
House of Commons would be induced to adopt a policy contrary to that which in times pest it had pursued ? That being so' he thought it preposterous to
say that, instantly the change of Government has taken place, the Govern- ment should be called upon to announce the measures which they think should be introduced. But he was not disposed to take advantage of any limited and partial view, and would therefore answer Mr. Villiers "without any reserve whatever."
Having thus repeated profession of frankness, Mr.Diaraeli for a moment dwelt on yet another collateral point—the uncertainty. "Surely our not announcing our measures does not occasion greater uncertainty than did our position in Par- liament before." There was a powerful party in both Houses who said that till a verdict was given at a general election they would not be content, and therefore the question was still unsettled and uncertain. The change that has taken place must "decrease the uncertainty," by "hastening the very verdict to which we look." He recurred to Mr. Villiers's question. "The honourable and
learned gentleman asks me to tell hint whether, in another Parliament, we shall be prepared to propose a fixed duty, according to his own figures, f five shillings upon corn. ("No, no ! ") That is the question, as I understand R. ("No, no ! ") If it is not, I shall be glad to know what the real ques- tion is."
Mr. TILLIElt.9—*" The question I Put was Whether the Government in- tended to propose any scheme of commercial or fiscal legislation before the
dissolution of Parliament, in such a way that the question of the principle of protection or A duty on corn should be submitted to the deliberate judg- ment of the electors ? "
The CHANcELIon of the PACCREQUE11—" That is a mere l'arliainen Periphrasis of what I said somewhat more simply. (A laugh.) We then, I say it is not the intention of the Government to do anything of the kind." (Great cheering and counter-cheering.) Thinking that great
injustice was done by the changes of 1846, and of 1848 and 1849, they are
extremely desirous, for the benefit of all classes of the community, that the injustice should be redressed. "We think that it would be our duty, to cola-
nder the condition of the agricultural interest,—and I take that interest in Particular because it is the one most prominently referred to in the observa- tions made by the honourable and learned gentleman, not because I wish to confine tny observations to it alone,—we think it would be our duty to con-
sider the condition of that interest, and to propose those measures which, in our opinion, are most calculated to redress the grievances under which it suffers. But we are not pledged to any measure. (Laughter from Me Op- position benches, and Ministerial cheers.) I think it would be entirely out of character to say, that in a new Parliament we should be bound to Tiring
in a certain specific in order to redress those grievances, or to propose the measure indicated by the honourable and learned gentleman—a five-shilling fixed duty. I am not at all clear, sharing as I do the opinion of the hon-
ourable and learned gentleman as to the little effect which it has in raising prices, that that is a measure 'which is by any means one I may think it our duty to recommend. But I *say frankly to the honourable and learned gentleman, that in considering the fiscal arrangements of this country, I do not—I will not—to gain any popularity, or, to avoid any blustering, give it as my opinion that a duty such as he describes is one which any Minister under any circumstances ought to propose. I think the honourable and learned gentleman and his friends have so far succeeded by their agitation—not their present agitation, which I believe to be very harmless, but by former agitation—as to invest the proposition with such an amount of prejudice, that, though I may consider such a proposition a good one, I may yet not think it expedient to adopt it. I know there is a great desire on the part of gentlemen opposite that there should be a proposi- tion for a fixed duty. ("Hear ! " and laughter.) I regret, for their sakes, that I cannot give a promise to make any proposition of the kind. What I intend to do, with the assistance and consent of my colleagues, is to redress the grievances of the agricultural interest ; and we reserve to ourselves the right of considering what may be the best means by which that great object can be attained. I think that, in consequence of the prejudice with which the proposition for a fixed duty on wheat—such, for example as the honourable and learned gentleman has referred to—has been invested, it would be very unwise for any Minister to make it before the verdict of the country has been pronounced with regard to it. That verdict will in all probability be speedily given. That question will then be decided. But the question of a redress of the just grievances of any interest in this country will not be settled by a verdict of that nature. That is a great subject, and it is for the Government to consider those measures Which they conscientiously believe will best attain the object they frankly announee it is their intention to accomplish. I hope I have answered the inquiry of the honourable and learned gentleman. ( "No, no and laughter from the Opposition Benches.) I understood the honour- able and learned gentleman, when he was so kind as to interrupt me, to say that his main inquiry of her Majesty's Government was, whether it was their intention to propose any fiscal arrangements affecting our commercial system before a dissolution of Parliament, so that the opinion of the country might be taken on the point. Nothing is further from my wish than to misrepresent him. I understood that to be his question ; and I thought I had answered very frankly that it was not the intention of the Government to do so. I am totally at a loss to understand the derisive cheer of the gen- tlemen opposite. I went even further : I assumed that the honourable and learned gentleman vtbuld wish to know the feeling of the Ministry on the question of a moderate fixed duty, and if we, either in this or the next Par- liament, meant to propose it. I was not bound, if I had adhered strictly to the tenonr of the 'inquiry, to state the facts I did, but I answered that. I told the honourable and learned gentleman that neither in this nor the next Parliament did her Majesty's Ministers consider themselves bound to make any such proposition whatever. Have I not frankly answered the question ? (Cseer.s and counter-cheers.) I am totally at a loss then to understand the derisive cheer opposite : I can only explain it in this manner, that I do not think my answer to the inquiry was so agreeable as was expected." Assuming himself to have now answered Mr. Villiers in a manner to leave "no mistake" as to the intentions of the Government, he proceeded to other topics. Conceding that Government is inn position of some difficulty, he at the same time disclaimed any appeal ad misericordiam. He was told that such appeal had been made to the House of Commons : he was not aware of it— had not sanctioned it—had not made it ; nor had any of his colleagues. All that they ask is fair play to themselves and to the country. There are mea- sures of exigency which cannot be neglected ; and besides those measures, others of a less formal character, but whose importance is such that they ought to be passed. He would mention the measures of the latter sort ; assuyning that he need not dwell on the necessity of such sets as the votes for the public service, and the passing of the Mutiny Bill,—though he had heard some strange rumours about these. The measures were three—the St. Alban's Disfranchisement Bill, the measure or measures taken custody of by the Lord Chancellor for Chancery Reform, and "a measure for the internal defence of the country." It is of the greatest importance, before Parliament meets, to have the number of seats complete. From the position in which the question of Chancery Reform is now placed, it is possible that the new measures may be carried with much greater speed than has generally at- tended measures of that kind.
After these full and frank explanations of the intentions of her Majesty's Government, Mr. Disraeli thought himself entitled to ask for full explana- tions of what is the principle on which "her Majesty's Opposition" is formed—" an Opposition which the noble Lord has constructed under the in- spiration and with the aid and assistance of the right honourable gentleman the Member for Ripon and the honourable gentleman the Member for the West Riding. (Ministerial cheers.) Such unbounded confidence exists between three such eminent men, I wish to know on what principle this new Opposition is founded—this new Opposition, headed by a noble Lord ac- knowledged by all of us to be an able and fitting leader, with such expe- rienced vice-lieutenants as the right honourable gentleman the Member for Ripon and the honourable gentleman the Member for the West Riding. What, I again ask, is tho principle on which the new Opposition a founded ? Is it the principle of Papal supremacy or Protestant ascendancy? Is it the principle of national defences or of perpetual peace ? Is it the principle of household suffrage or of the electoral groups ? Is it the opinion of the now Opposition, along with the honourable Member for the West Riding, that Free-trade is a panacea for all the evils of states ? Or is it the opinion of the new Opposition, in deference to the noble Lord the Member for London, that Free-trade is a great exaggeration ? These are questions I think it le- gitimate to ask ; and I think they ought to be as frankly answered as the question which has been addressed to her Majesty's Ministers. I know that the prospects we as a Ministry may have in the present Parliament very much depend on our knowk.dge of those who are our opponents. Consider- ing the circumstances under which we acceded to oftlee, I certainly did not expect within a fortnight of his resignation to find in the prime mover of difficulties against the Government the noble Lord the Member for London. But, great as may be the obstacles we may have to encounter, I confess for myself I do not despair. I have confidence in the good sense and good tem- per even of the existing Parliament. If I have miscalculated those quali- ties, I shall still hold my trust in the sympathy and support of the country ; convinced that it will support the present Government in their attempt to do their duty to their Sovereign, and in their resolution to baffle the mauceuvres of faction." (Cheers.) Lord Jaw Rose= followed Mr. Disraeli. In rising, he said that three weeks ago he stated to the House, irr a very few words, the reasons
of his resignation, and the course he meant to pursue; but that course has been so misrepresented in the speeches that have been made and in the addresses that have been printed to electors, that he felt bound to enter on a fuller statement.
In the first place, however, he found that Lord Derby less moderately stated, and now the plea is put forward in a most wonderful and extraordi- nary statement, that the present Government have only accepted office be- cause the Queen was without a Government, and they would not have her Majesty without servants to conduct the public business of the country. Why, it is a notorious fact that for years they have been endeavouring to supplant the late Government. They took advantage of every opportunity, of any oc- casion is which any Member of the House of Commons differed from the Go- vernment, to come down and swell the ranks of the opponents of the Go- vernment; for that purpose uniting with Members with whom they did not agree, to inflict a blow on the Government ; refraining from no attack—not confining themselves to legitimate weapons of party warfare. "Did they not use poisoned arrows for the purpose of attacking the late Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland ? (Loud cheers and counter-cheers.) Had they not a motion of
which they had given notice for the very next week, which was a vote of want of confidence in the Government? Upon the very occasion on which the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton refused to the Government of the day leave to bring in a bill with respect to the Militia—as upon the motion of the honour- able Member for Montrose—they came down, without any regard to the sub- ject, without any opinion with respect to it—(Cries of "No, no !" cheers and counter-cheers)—I believe, myself, without any opinion with respect to that subject—(Cheers and counter-cheers)—and they took the unusual course of refusing to the Minister leave to bring in a bill with respect to the Mi- litia. Upon that very night they took pains to collect Members in order to defeat Ministers on the grant for the Ordnance ; they were most active in collecting Members for that purpose."
Thus disposing of the "false pretence" that the present Government ac- cepted office only because the Queen should not be left without a Govern- ment, Lord John proceeded to speak of the motives of his resignation. "It is the duty of the Prime Minister of this country to superintend the whole of the important questions that relate to foreign affairs, to the Colonies, and to the domestic affairs of this country, and all questions with respect to the revenue and other departments of the country that are of importance ; but I felt it would be impossible for me, if I were to be liable to those continual attacks in this House, and if the Government were to be degraded by those occasional defeats which must follow from the course adopted to take the House by surprise—I felt, I say, it would be impossible for me to give that due attention to subjects of great concern to the public which it was my duty to give. I felt, therefore, if I were not driven out of office, I should be worried out of it by gentlemen in opposition." • Lord John bad no objection to the gentlemen opposite occupying their places, if they do so to prevent the course of policy which they think injurious. But the position is entirely altered since the delivery, on the 27th of Fe- bruary-, of that speech by Lord Derby in which he said, "I cannot propose measures in the present Parliament, because I should lie in minority." It is not unusual to be in a minority : when a Minisr is in a minority, It has been usual to say, "I must advise the Crown to call another Parlia- ment": but here Lord Derby says—" We are in a minority ; we mean to conduct the whole business of the country with that minority ; we mean to go through the session, and when the session is over mean to exercise our own dis- cretion whether we shall dissolve Parliament or not—it may, perhaps, be dis- solved in December; and then we shall propound the measures we think necessary." There is, there can be, no constitutional precedent for such conduct as this. "If it was unconstitutional in me, as I thought it would have been, to hold office with an uncertain majority, can it be constitutional in them to hold office with a certain minority ? "
Remarking that Mr. Disraeli had repeated three or four times that he would "frankly and fairly" answer the question of Mr. Villiers, but while assuring them of his frankness and fairness had constantly disappointed it and refused an answer, Lord John interpreted this studied mystery. "We are to sit here discussing Chancery Reform and sanitary measures until the usual time for ending the session, and then we are to be prorogued ; and some time in September, when the registrations have been duly looked into, and the benefit from the alteration in the elections ascertained, then Parlia- ment is to be dissolved, and every Agricultural Member is to be at liberty to go to his constituents and say, 'I am for protection, and if you support me we shall have from the Government protective duties' ; and every Member of a town constituency will be at liberty to say, The Government have in fact given up protection : they do not like to saxit at present ; until the new Parliament is assembled they will not bind their agricultural friends, but we shall find that the Free-traders in Parliament are the great majority, and the Prime Minister of the Crown will be as good a Free-trader as any other Member of Parliament.' And this, Sir, is put upon us under the pre- tence of constitutional government. I verily believe there never was such a delusion attempted to be practised upon a people, and least of all upon such a people as the people of England. I am told this is to be referred to the intelligent portion of the people of England. Upon this subject the whole community is intelligent. (Cheers and counter-cheers.) It is a question which now every one understands. Ten years ago, when there was a disso- lution in 1841, it was not understood ; but the whole people of the country understand it now. They know what it means—they know it means the may be—to the price of their loaf; and that that tax is to go in the main part addition of something—a penny, a halfpenny, or a farthing ha , or whatever it to the landlords of this country. That is perfectly understood. It reqires no greater intelligence than all the labourers of this country possess. They do understand it; and they require to know, and the community at large re- quires to know, whether the policy of the Government is to impose that tax -or to abandon it. But to that plain question we can obtain no answer. We are to be left entirely in the dark."
Lord John dealt with the point made by Mr. Disraeli, that Lord John himself had advised her Majesty only a fortnight since, that it would be in- expedient to dissolve Parliament. He took that course, in the first place, because he would not incur the objection stated by Sir Robert Peel, that to dissolve then, would have been using the prerogative of the Crown to main- tain a party in power; and in the next place, because the supplies for the Army and Navy were not passed; and he should say that, even now, after the Mutiny Bill is passed, a dissolution would be attended with the greatest inconvenience, and with a great delay of the public business. But if gentle- men were so anxious that the St. Alban's Disfranchisement Bill and the Chancery Reform should pass, they had nothing to do but to leave the late Government unmolested, and those measures might have securely passed.
Reasserting that the whole policy of the late Government had been assailed, and recalling to mind that one member after another of the present Government has proclaimed that it is the object of the present Ministers to overturn that policy or to mitigate its evils, Lord John went into a defence of the Free- trade policy by its results. Then recurring to the position and policy of the present Government, he finished' by characterizing the course which they wean to pursue, as most convenient to themselves, but most inconvenient to the country. "If they can obtain from this time till February next, without .Professing any principles but endeavouring to get together, by one means or another, a majority for the next Parliament, undoubtedly that is a great advan- tage to them ; but the whole country is, in the mean time, to be kept in sus- pense. No merchant is to know whether he can order a cargo of corn for the spring of next year • no manufacturer can know whether he may have a mar- ket for his manufactured goods ; no farmer can settle with his landlord the terms upon which his rent is to be fixed. This, too, for the convenience alone of right honourable and honourable gentlemen opposite, in order to pro- mote whose interests we are to sacrifice all the great and permanent interests of the country !"
Mr. HERRISS replied to Lord John Russell's strictures on the policy of the Government, by counter-criticisms on the policy of Lord John Russell's section of the Opposition • and upon the new alliance made Phesham Place with parties who are for the ballot and universal the declared concession of Lord John that the basis of his Ad- ' a an broad as he might have wished, and his avowal ant his apprehensions of evil t3 our maritime in- the Government, on a broader basis." Mr. Arisen which would permit the reconstruction ofrn
threats from the Free-trade policy have been verified, and more than veni. fled. He quoted returns of the Board of Trade to show that our shippine inwards has slightly decreased since 1849, while foreign shipping has in° creased forty per cent ; and that our shipping outwards has only increased four-and-three-quarters per cent, while foreign shipping outwards froin ear ports has increased forty-seven per cent. However, he would be the last person to deny the prosperity and contentment which exist" : " he admitted that the country is in a state of great prosperity, and that the labouring claases are, on the whole, in a better position than before." But he was not convinced that it was by any means the result of Free-trade.
Sir Teams Gnamsar answered the challenge thrown down by Mr. Dis. raeli with respect to that opposition which he had anticipated from Sir James.
In the first place, however, due acknowledgment was made of the large admissions" just made by the President of the Board of Control—that in. dustry is prosperous, and the working classes well employed,. contented, and satisfied ; and some surprise was expressed that Mr. Disraeli would be sud- denly so chary in his approval of the weapons of Opposition—surely he must have forgotten the " organized hypocrisy" of former days. Approaching then the chief matter of his speech, Sir James said, that, infimtesimally small as Mr. Disraeli might deem the question now at issue, he deemed it as important a question as was ever raised in a deliberative assembly : it was not merely the question of imposing a five-shilling or a seven-shilling duty on corn, but the question of reversing or adhering to an entire policy, the results of which, by the examples yet seen, had far exceeded the most san- guine expectations formed of it by its authors and supporters. From this mtroduotion Sir James proceeded to say, that though Mr. Villiers was quite justified in putting the question at the period and in the manner in which he had put it, yet that, for his own part, he had no doubt whatever with re- spect to the intentions of her Majesty's Government, or as to their policy. Reminding the House that last year, when Mr. Disraeli's proposed mea- sures on the subject of agricultural relief seemed somewhat mystified, be had said he was forced to go to another House for the information desired, and that in the explicit declarations of Peers acting with the same party, he had then showed their true policy to be, first to change the Administration, then to dissolve Parliament, and then to impose duties on imports, and among them upon corn : Sir James now adhered to that solution, and proceeded to show, by the light of further evidence, that it still the true one. Re. ferriii is to his long intimacy with Lord Derby, and declaring his perfect reliance on the honour of that nobleman—his perfect faith that by what Lord Derby has said he will abide—he quoted seriatim the declara. tions on the subject made by him since the commencement of 1851. On the 28th of February in that year, be said that "it would be impos- sible for him, as an honest man, to take office without a full deter- mination to deal with the agricultural distress by effective measures of relief." He went on to say, that, "by imposing a duty on the importation of foreign corn," from 1,600,000/. to '2,000,000/. of revenue might be got, without materi4lly raising the price to the consumer ; and the country be "enabled altogether, and he trusted for ever' " to "abolish the Income-tax." Now, a duty of five shillings would not raise even 1,500,0001.; it must be a much heavier duty. Again he said, "I cannot as an honest man abandon the attempt to relieve the existing distress, and to remedy the wrong done, by the imposition of a moderate duty on corn " ; and he wound up by as that this was "a full declaration of the course of policy which, if he had then been called to office he should have ventured to recommend." What could be a more explicit declaration of the policy of the present head of the Government? Nor has the policy changed since it was thus an- nounced. On the 3d of February last, he said, "I have not altered the opin- ion which I expressed some few years ago, that both for the purposes of revenue and for the protection of our native industry, agricultural produce should be included in the articles of import on which a revenue should be raised." There are also later special witnesses to the same permanency of view and policy. At the time Lord John Russell resigned, in 1861, Lord Derby applied to Mr. Gladstone to join his Government, and Mr. Gladstone declared that Lord Derby's opinions on Protection were a fatal bar to their union. Sir James Graham stated also, regretting that Lord Palmerston was not present to confirm him, that when the present Administration was form- ed, Lord Derby proposed, with her Majesty's consent, that Lord Palmerston should join it; that Lord Palmerston put the same preliminary questions put by Mr. Gladstone ; and, receiving the same answer from Lord Derby, replied, that it was as possible for the Exe to flow backwards from the ocean as for the Corn-laws to be reenacted; and that it was impossible for him to join the Administration. After these declarations, was it necessary to refer further to other evidence—to the declaration of Mr. Christopher, a man of the highest honour, who would not descend for a moment to palter with the question—that he was convinced of Lord Derby's "sincere desire to reverse the financial and commercial policy which has proved so injurious to native industry and capital "—or to the declaration of Sir John Trollope, that the matter must be determined by the "electors of the empire," and "that speedily." Having completed his proofs that the policy of the Govern- ment may already be well ascertained from the declarations of its members, Sir James criticized the more recent declarations and conduct of the Govern- ment in dereliction from the course of their true policy. Mr. Disraeli bad denied that any appeal had been made ad miserwordiam; but Sir James himself had the pleasure to hear the appeal—when Lord Derby, in slate speech, said "I know that lam in an undoubted minority in the House of Commons and I appeal therefore to the forbearance of the Souse." In reference to thie appeal Sir James said—"I deny absolutely, that in the whole course of our Parliamentary history such an admissson was ever made by any Minister, or that any such appeal for forbearance was ever asked. I challenge any one to point out any such admission, or any such request, as that made by Lord Derby. I say that a due homage to the representative system is at variance with such a request, and that out representative system would be brought into disrepute if a Government so situated continued in office, or suffered Par- liament to sit an hour longer than was necessary to provide for the safety and defence of the country." In the great struggle of 1784, Mr. Pitt said, "Only give me the Mutiny Bill, and this House shall be dissolved,"—ac- knowledging that the confidence of the House of Commons is indispensable to every Administration. In 1831, when General Gascoi,gne beat Lord Grey on some question of mere secondary importance, forty-eight hours did not elapse before the whole Ministry had resigned. In the session of 1841, so well to be remembered and so pregnant with example, Sir Robert Peel carried a vote of want of confidence ; 1..ord John Russell came down on Monday, and asked for a vote on account of some estimates not granted, only to enable him to go on six months. Sir Robert Peel went through all the points of Parliamentary history which bore on the question. He said to the noble Lord (J. Russell), 'You do not possess the confidence of this House. Your proposal to take a vote in supply for six months is too long a period, and you will by that course prolong the session to about its usual termination. I have no security that you will call a Parliament together di- rectly.' And he added distinctly, 'Unless you pledge yourself to dissolve this Parliament with the least possible delay, and call a new Parliament to- gether immediately, I will, propose that the votes shall be, not for six months, but only for three months.' But what is the course which the GO- vernment are about to take now? The President of the Board of Control is to move in ten days or a fortnight for a Committee on the renewal of the East India Company's Charter. What a melancholy state of things is this ! 'fere too is the Secretary of the Colonies declaring, that he entertains the strongest opinions that our recent policy relative to the Sugar-duties is un- justifiable, and he has been seeking to arrest the further reduction in the auty upon sugar which is to take place on the 5th of July ! He thinks our policy regarding the Colonies is ruinous as it stands—that every step we tare taken is indefensible ; and yet he, the Minister of the Crown, and charged with the protection of the Colonial interests, contrary to his own views, is prepared, without makinf an effort, to allow that act to come into operation, and when he has the opinion of one of his colleagues that a step of this kind when once taken is irrevocable." On that same occasion of a vote of want of confidence in the Government of Lord John Russell, a speech was made in which these passages of sarcastic denunciation are reported- - The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) said—' I admit that we do not sufficiently possess the confidence of the House to enable us to carry our measures.' Was there ever such an admission made by a Government before! Suppose that in any other time this proposition, and this alone, had been brought forward—that the Govern- ment do not sufficiently possess the confidence of the House of Commons to enable them to carry their measures through the House—just pause for a moment, and con- sider what must be the position of a Government who to that single proposition is bound to reply, ' We admit your allegation ; we are unable to dispute it. Why, in sayother time would not such an admission have been regarded as conclusive proof that the Government was unworthy to conduct the affairs of this country! But the Minister says, ' Although we have not the confidence of the House, it is not incum- bent on us to retire. We bare got some chances to try—we have yet some turns to take. It does not necessarily follow that, because we are without power, we must also be without office.' The speaker then proceeded to denounce all threats of dis- solution, as inconsistent with the independent action of the House of Commons, and at variance with the spirit of the constitution."
The speaker alluded to in the above extract was the present Earl of Derby. (Great cheering and laughter from the Opposition benches.) The conse- quence was, that Lord John Russell dissolved Parliament, and summoned a new one with the least possible delay. " Absit omen " ; for the result was the displacing of that Government. (Cheers.) From these constitutional points Sir James Graham returned to others connected with the main topic. He met the assertion that corn-cultivation has declined by reference to the advance of 5,200,0001. since 1846 to land- owners for drainage ; to the passing of a bill by the Duke of Richmond, to enable the owners of entailed estates to borrow money for improvements, and to the notoriously great extent to which that power has been used ; to the enormous increase in the consumption of guano-83,438 tons in 1849, 116,925 tons in 1850, and 243,614 tons last year; and to the yearly continuing enclosure of thousands of acres of waste land-365,902 acres since 1845. He told bow the Duke of Buceleuch, one of the largest of our owners of cultivated land, although he concurred with Lord Stan- ley when he differed from Sir Robert Peel in 1846, now declares, in the know- ledge both of Sir James Graham and Lord Derby himself, that last year be was in the receipt of as much rent as ever he received—of as much rent as he desired to receive ; that not a tenant he wished to keep but was ready to pay his rent; and that though he agreed with Lord Stanley in 1846, he now thinks any attempt to reimpose the Corn-laws is to be deprecated as most dangerous to the owners of the land. Having "talked of dukes and great men," he next quoted from Dr. Strong's Social Statistics of Glasgow, facts concerning the poorer classes, showing that the same population who in 1819 ate but three pounds of wheaten bread per head, since 1846 have come to eat eight pounds of the same sort of bread per head ; that the depositors in savings-banks have risen from 1 to every 21 inhabitants in 1841, up to 1 to every 12 in 1851; while at the same time the average of the de- posits has risen from 121. 3d. up to IL 8s. 9d. In connexion with this sub- Jed, he had heard it said that the Government, whose policy i generally to -be a protective system, are bent on a system which the head of the Govern- ment in the other House had described as conducive to "peace on earth and good-will towards men." "Solemn and awful words! holy words! words of the harbingers of glad tidings and of heavenly messengers, who came, with healing on their wings, on their message of mercy to mankind. Sir, can it be truly stated that this policy was ever of that description which could be said to bring peace on earth and good-will towards men ? I pass by the watchword of Up, Guards, and at them!' but I say I am satisfied, that if this policy be adopted, it is not peace that it will bring, but ill-feel- ing, discontent, and such animosities between class and class as you do not expect, and the consequences of which I cannot foresee." He touched gravely on the words of Major ,Beresford to the electors of North Essex : when a man in the crowd cried "Cheap bread !" how did the honourable Member receive that suggestion? "I am speaking to the farmers of Essex," he said ; "away with that Braintree rabble !" If such cries be repeated at the coming election, as is to be feared—if the representatives teach their constituents that they are to disregard the cries of the people—it is also to be feared that the time will come when the whole system of representation will be unsettled.
In conclusion, Sir James frankly stated what is "the bond of this Oppo- sition." "I, Sir, have entered into no unworthy compact. I have but one object, and that is the maintenance of the policy to which when in office I gave my humble advocacy ; and I am anxious to give my cooperation to every gentleman in this House who wishes to maintain it. But I check in ardour—I have a sad reflection. I remember the last conversation which I ever had with the late Sir Robert Peel. It was upon the eve of that great discussion upon our foreign policy in which he and I found it our painful duty to vote against a Government which upon other accounts, and more especially upon the account of their support of a Free-trade policy, we had usually assisted. It was impossible not to look to the consequences of that vote, and I pointed out to Sir Robert Peel the possibility that the Government would be overthrown, and asked him what would then en-
sue ? He said, know that in this country, without party connexions, no man can govern. I know that my party ties are dissolved, and I am not pre- pared to renew them, and do not desire to renew them. But, come what may, there is no effort that I will not make to maintain that Free-trade policy, which I believe to be indispensable for the maintenance of peace and 1?ppiness in this country.' (Loud cheers.) Sir, I do not possess the abili- ties of my departed friend, but I possess his determination ; and, like him, there is no effort I will not be prepared to make, and no sacrifice I will not be prepared to undergo, to uphold that policy which in my heart and conscience I believe to be necessary for the peace, the happiness, and the wellbeing of my fellow countrymen." [Sir James Graham resumed his seat upon the front Opposition bench amid loud and prolonged cheers.] . Mr. WALPOLE took up a position as critic of the progress of the discus- sion.
. There being no subject of debate, every question was brought under discus- sion which any gentleman thought interesting. The real fact was, that the only topic properly before the House was, whether the questions put by Mr. Villiers, and which were answered three hours ago by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been properly answered. ("Hear, hear!" from the Opposi- tion.) To elucidate this question, he assumed that the main point of Sir J.ames Graham's speech bad been proved; and asked, why they were discus- sing the matter at all if the country was aware of the intentions of her Ma- jesty's Ministers? He repeated the statement of Lord Derby, that there is no intention to reverse; but to modify the policy of Free-trade, so that it would not press unjustly on one class while benefiting another. That modifi- cation would be accomplished, be hinted, by making new fiscal arrangements; and in making those arrangements, it would probably be necessary to consider the propriety of imposing duties on all imports, raw materials alone excepted, and not necessarily excluding articles of food, including the article corn. (Cheers and counter-cheers.) And if the well-expressed opinion of the country was against duties on articles of food, partly for protection and partly for revenue, Lord Derby had said it was not his intention ever again to moot the question. Respecting the constitutional rightfulness of their position as the Ministers of a minority, he argued that they had the most complete precedent to jus- tify them • for there was no analogy between the precedents cited against them and; position. Dealing with the precedents, he pointed out that the Governments of 1831 and 1811 had been beaten on distinct motions of want of confidence. " How can you assimilate the situation of the Ministry either in 1831 or in 1841, when the Government were beaten in Parliament by a House of Commons of their own convening, to the position of a Minis- try called into power by a House of Commons convened by the late Govern- ment, and only brought into power because the late Government acknow- ledged themselves to be unable to carry on the affairs of the country." And he continued in that strain, asserting in many forms that his party had ac- cepted 'wirer because there was no party strong enough for the place. So it was with the question of dissolution, and its alleged evils. Let it not be said that he was appealing to the forbearance of the House—he was appealing to its justice. Recurring to the question of the precedents, he denied that the state of things in 1784 made for the Opposition. Mr. Pitt had come into power in a minority, when the Whig Government of that day went out of power on a most important motion, the East India question • whereas the present Go- vernment came into power on no question raised by them against the late Government. The language used by .Mr. Pitt was appropriate to the present occasion, when he said that it was incumbent on him to consider who would be his successors if he resigned, and thus made way for an Adminis- tration in whom the Crown, Parliament, and people, could: not equally re- pose confidence. Three weeks ago, the House had been told by Lord John Russell that the Government did not enjoy sufficiently the confidence of the country to enable it to conduct affairs, and unless some new and extraordi- nary amalgamation of parties had taken place to better his position, they would be betraying their duty, if, without a vote against them, they handed over power to those to whom they had been more opposed than to the late Ministry. (Loud cheers.) Now, there was an extraordinary similarity be- tween the position of Mr. Pitt and his Whig opponents and that of the present Government and their opponents. "If I recollect aright, an extra- ordinary coalition took place at that time, when the Whig party went out of power. Nothing damaged the Whig party so much as that unnatural al- liance; and I warn the noble Lord, who is a constitutional Minister, to be- ware, as he loves the constitution, (as I know he does,) before he joins with those who not only vote with him in carrying any salutary reform, but who have objects behind—democratic tendencies to which the noble Lord would not give way. But the noble Lord may be betrayed in an unlucky moment into a false position, much, I should think, to his own disadvantage, and I am sure to the great disadvantage of the country." (Cheers.)
This diversion of the debate brought up Mr. Guirgrroisz; who vindi- cated the importance of tho occasion from the insinuations of Mr. Walpole.
He characterized the position of the Government as necessarily anomalous and provisional, from a constitutional point of view. But, passing over that, he pointed out how desirable it was, when the consequences of the struggle of 1846 had "deranged the whole mechanical system of our Parliamentary government," that every effort should be made for the purpose of bringing "for once and for ever' the question of Free-trade or Protection to a final decision.
Having stated this, he proceeded to consider two questions,—the duty of the Opposition to the Government, and their duty with regard to Protection. Adverting to the case of Mr. Pitt in 1784, he showed that Mr. Pitt, when he found himself in a minority, had taken the sense of the country at the earli- est possible moment, namely, when he had obtained the supplies and passed the bdutiny Bill. Mr. Pitt was perfectly aware that it was unconstitutional for a Minister to hold office when he was in a minority. But Mr. Walpole had misunderstood Sir James Graham if he thought they meant to found simply on precedents as precedents ; they were adduced as illustrations of a living principle of practical policy,—namely, that if you require to have a strong Government for all purposes, you must have one which possesses the confidence of the House of Commons. No one blamed Ministers !or taking office ; as a choice of evils between that, and impeded legislation, he was glad they had taken office. But now they were there, "it was the duty of the House of Commons—a duty from which it must not shrink—to compel the Government to appeal to the country on the vital question at stake at the earliest possible moment." Criticizing the Chancellor of the Exchequer's bud- get of "necessary measures," Mr. Gladstone distinctly refused to accede to the doctrine that the dissolution ought to be prolonged on account of Chan- cery Reform, or that the proposed disposal of four seats in Parliament by the creation of new constituencies came under the category of "necessary mea- sures." What must be done was to obtain in form and substance an assu- rance of the intention of the Government to advise the Crown to dissolve Parliament as soon as the necessary business is despatched. As to protection, he would accept the statement which Mr. Walpole had made with regard to the intentions of Government ; and he must say that he was opposed alike to a reversal or modification of the Free-trade policy.
Mr. BArcian COCHRANE attempted to make himself heard by a House absorbed in private conversation and impatient of the speaker. That at- tention which Mr. Cochrane could not command was arrested the instant Lord PALMERSTON stood up. His view of matters he very shortly ex- pressed. Ministers were in a position at once anomalous and unconstitutional, but also accidental, and therefore no blame attached to them on account of it. But that was a state of things which, in ordinary circumstances, could not last for any period of time. 'Their course was clear : either they must dis- solve Parliament or resign office ; and as a resignation would be inconsistent with the ideas under which they took office, the only course left them was to dissolve Parliament as soon as the necessary business of the moment was concluded ; and having taken the sense of the country, it was their duty to call the new Parliament together at an early period, so that the next House of Commons might come to a final decision on this great question. For his part, he thought nothing could be more detrimental to the real and true in- terests of the upper classes of the country, than the impression that they wished to raise the price of the food of the poor to add something to the in- comes of the rich.
The interest of the debate was at an end when Lord Palmerston sat down. Various Members from both sides addressed the House for some
time longer,—Mr. G. BERKELEY, Mr. MILNER GIBSON, Sir Tome TYR- RELL, Mr. OSWALT), Mr. NEWDEGATE, Sir A. COCKBURN, and Mr. BOOKER, —fighting over again the battles which had been fought by their leaders. And when they had done the House went into Committee of Supply. The proceedings in the House of Lords on Monday were, as part of a concerted action, necessarily more or less similar to those in the House of Commons. There was a similar change of places, a similar crowded ga- thering of Peers; and Lord BEAUMONT, in presenting a petition for form's sake, asked a question much the same as that asked in the Commons,— namely, whether '.11inisters intended to recommend to the new Parliament an alteration of the present policy with respect to the importation of corn ?
The Earl of DERBY, in replying, dwelt at some length on the nature of the petition, and revelled in an ironical description of the insignificance
of the petitioners ; whom he represented as harassed to death by their anxieties respecting the future policy of the Government, but the whole amount of whose land amounted to only 1841 acres. He scornfully ridi- culed the idea that the postponement of the question at issue could have such disastrous effects as were pretended on the cultivation of land or the arrangement of leases and rents. But he agreed with Lord Beaumont., that this was a question which ought not to be allowed to remain longer than possible in abeyance.
Like Mr. Disraeli, Lord Derby argued, that as there had long been a large party in both Houses who had declared that not until the next election should the present uncertainty be removed,—that by the next election the question must be "definitively settled " ; and "to that election, therefore, they on their part, confident in the strength of their own cause, would be ready to appeal, and to submit if the sense of the country should be pro- nounced against them,"—so he concluded that the change of linistryhad lessened the uncertainty.
"My Lords," he continued, "I repeat, that the period of suspense ought to be as short as possible ; that the appeal to be made to the country ought to be made as aeon as the great interests of the country will permit : but I say further, that, so far as I am individually concerned, no taunt, no chal- lenge, no difficulties to which I may be subjected, no mortifications to which I may bo exposed, shall induce me to recommend to my Sovereign that that dissolution of Parliament, however anxious I may be for a demon, shall take place one hour sooner than those great and paramount interests render necessary."
He entreated their Lordships to consider the circumstances und:r which the Government had assumed office ; and he detailed at great length the pro- cess,—assuming that Ministers were compelled to take office or leave the Queen without a Government. Oa the question of immediate dissolution, he quoted Lord John Russell's admission that it was inexpedient, and asked, "Inexpedient to whom ? Inexpedient for the noble Lord and his colleagues, or inexpedient for the interests of the country ?" No doubt, the noble Lord had decided what he thought best for the country ; but, if so, with what face could he now press a 'immature dissolution with the view of ousting the Government, uncertain whether he could set up another in its place ? Stating the course pursued by Lord John Russell in 1846,—who refused to answer questions as to his future policy put to him by Mr. Duncombe, and who de- nied that Parliament had the right to put, or that it was the duty of the Government to answer such questions,—he proceeded dramatically. "Those were the doctrines of Lord John Russell in 1846, doctrines readily acquiesced in by the Opposition of that day. My Lords, I ask no more. I ask for jus- tice, not to me or to my colleagues but to the great interests of our common country. I ask not to be interrupted in making the usual financial arrange- ments. I ask not to be interrupted in placing this country in a fit state of organization and defence in the event of foreign invasion. I ask you not to interrupt the course of all public and private business. I ask you not to in- terfere with those useful reforms which have been chalked out by recom.- mendations, given' no doubt, under a former Government, but on which the heart and mind of the people are set."
He warned his opponents that "factious opposition to necessary measures" would be "visited Justly" on the heads of the factious. Ile declared that the question at issue was not one of imposition or non-imposition of a duty on corn, nor respecting the "total reversal" of the Free-trade policy of Sir Ro- bert Peel ; which, he broke out, "I don't desire to see reversed, but which I think was carried to an unnecessary and dangerous extent. I recollect, at the time the great measure of the Navigation-laws was under discussion, I warned your Lordships against the adoption of it, on the ground that it in- volved principles which once adopted were final and irrevocable. I made that statement at the time; I repeat it now. I don't desire to go back to the law of 1846 with respect to corn; I don't desire to go back to the law of 1842:" Deprecating agitation, and incidentally describing the Anti-Corn-law Leaguers as " those who make more noise than they possess influence, .who bring down a large amount of subscriptions on paper," and who exercise a "dangerous influence" on the community,—he proceeded to declare, that., as an individual, he looked to the imposition of a moderate duty as "a most just, a most economical, and for the country a most advantageous mode of afford- ing relief. "But I think that a proposition which no Minister ought to bring forward and submit to Parliament unless he is clear, not only of a bare ma- jority, but of a very general concurrence of opinion throughout the country. I say that it is only one portion of a great question."
It was not a paltry question which they had to try—it was not a question whether a duty should be imposed on foreign produce ; "it was not on such a question, great as it was, that he, when he appealed to the country, in- tended that appeal to be made." This lofty language was the preface to an attack upon the meeting at Chesham Place,'" and which bid fair for making .the Chesham Place Convention a fit rival for the Lichfield House Compact." Ile would have thought that the last object Lord John Russell would have lead in view "as a statesman and a patriot" would have been to organize an Opposition ; joining with men who had abstained from supporting him when in office, but were quite ready, to act with him for the purpose of rendering any government impossible. "There is the position, then, in which her Majesty's present and late Governments stand. The head of the late Government, unable to maintain his place, yet thinks it not unworthy of his high character and station to associate with those who during the course of his Government strenuously opposed him, for the purpose of rendering, the difficulties of those who have succeeded him absolutely, insuperable ; and if those reports are to be relied on, it would appear that he had said his next Administration should not be a Whig Administration, but one on a much wider basis. I shall go then to the country when it is consistent with my duty to my Sovereign and to my country that I should go there, not on a question of the kind suggested. That question I shall leave to the deliberate judgment of the public. I shall leave it to the general concurrence of the country, without which I shall not bring forward that proposition. (Loud and renewed cheering.) I say I will not flinch from performing my duty without fear, if the sense of the people and of the Parliament shall be with me and shall support me in a measure which I believe would be useful for the coun- try. But I will not overstrain the influence which belongs to a Go- vernment; I will not abuse the high position in which my Sovereign has placed me ; and I will not by a bare majority force on the country a measure against which a great proportion of the Lountry has expressed an opinion. (Cheers.) There may be men who may object to this spe- pe- cific . cific measure, who are yet prepared to join in supporting the great terests of the country, and in affording relief to those classes that are suffer, ing ; and it might be possible to render available in other respects the assist ance and support of those who, united on general principles, differed as to the specific mode of affording relief to suffering interests, and were unable to
give us assistance in carrying that particular question. We are threatened with far more serious difficulties than opposition to the imposition of a five- shilling, or six-shilling, or seven-shilling duty. It is a question whether the go. vernment of this country can be carried on, and on what principles and through
what medium ; and when I appeal to the country I should do so on this ground. —Will you, who desire well to all the interests of the country, place your confidence and give your support to a Government which, in the hour of peril,
did not hesitate to take the post of danger when the helmsman had left the helm ? (Loud cheers.) 'Will you support a Government which is against
hostile attacks, which would maintain the peace of the world, which would uphold the Protestant institutions of the country, which would give strength and increased power to religious and moral education throughout the land, and which would exert itself moreover, I will not hesitate to say, to oppose some barrier against the current, that is continually encroaching, of Democratic influence, which would throw power nominally into the hands of the masses, practically into those of the demagogues who lead them? Will you resist a Government which desires to oppose that noxious and dangerous influence; and to maintain the prerogatives of the Crown, the rights of your Lordships' House, and the privileges of the other freely elected and fairly represented House of Parliament ? These are the principles on which I shall make my appeal on behalf of myself and of my colleagues ; and, in words which are placed in the mouths of the meanest felons in the dock, and which are not unworthy the lips of a First Minister of the Crown, 'I elect that we shall be tried by God and our country.' " (Great cheering.) Earl GREY insisted mainly on two points. He said that it was an unpre- cedented course for men who had made Protection a battle-cry for years, to take office and then refuse to state whether they intended to propose an alteration in the Corn-law or not. They were bound to say, "We are for it," or " We are against it." In opposition to Lord Derby, he said that the accession of the present Ministers had created the prevailing un- certainty; and he spoke at great length to prove that the plea of having been forced into office was a pretence ; seeing that the Protectionists had sought office diligently and incessantly—attacking Ministers, and joining with anybody who would attack them. Lord Grey asserted that the rea- son why Lord Derby did not openly abandon Protection was that he in- tended to canvass the counties as a Protectionist and the towns as a Free- trader. The main scope of his speech, however, was similar to the speeches in the Commons on the same side. The other speakers were Lord Anirromt, Lord Cefossicanne., the Earl of ILARROWBY, Lord WODEMOUSB, and the Earl of Pow's. Lord Ilea- DOWDY advised Ministers to abstain from the attempt to reimpose a pro.. tection-duty, livery remarkable words'—
He believed that there was not the slightest chance of success for a pro- tective policy; and if they went to the country upon that, he felt sure that the result. would be that the Conservative interest would be put upon a false issue, and that instead of trying the question of "Protection or not ?" the real question that would be tried would be "Democracy or not ?" ("Hear, hear ! ")
A conversational debate on the National School system of Ireland occu- pied the House of Lords on Tuesday. The Marquis of CLANRICARDE stated that he had read iv speech purporting to be the speech of the Attorney. General for Ireland, promising, in the name of Lord Derby, an honest inquiry into the working of the system, for the purpose of seeing what could be done to meet the objections of the clergy of the Established Church. Now he excepted to that speech, because it implied that the Government would give its support to some other scheme of education than that now existing : and he wished therefore to know whether Government intended to recommend a change in the mode of disposing of the national funds for educational purposes ? The Earl of DERBY made a guarded reply. He said that certainly he was in favour of a Committee of inquiry, and had been for some time : he thought it was desirable that it should be clearly ascer- tained how far a system of combined education could be carried out ; and that was a fair subject for the consideration of a Committee. But he cau- tiously abstained from stating what course Government would pursue if it were ascertained that a system professedly combined was actually ex- clusivet—a possibility on which. be enlarged. He was clearly of opinion that a Committee was desirable, for the purpose of seeing how far they might extend the benefits of the system without diminishing the influ- ence of the Irish Board Of Education rand he should not shrink from assisting schools exclusively Protestant, or even exclusively Catholie, not strictly within the rules of the Board. The Marquis.of LANSDOWNE deprecated inquiry with a view to introdu- cing essential alterations in the fundamental rules of the Board. The other speakers were the Earl of Dese.ar, the Earl of RODEN, Lord Me:clowns, and the Earl of Dorronon.stona. The practical issue of the discussion was an order, on the motion of Lord //Swami:ma, for a copy of Mr. Stan- ley's letter to the Duke of Leinster, laying dawn the principle* upon which the system was established.
Eloticarrow IN MANerresree AND SALFORD.
The debate on the motion for the second reading of the Manchester and Salford Education Bill, moved on Wednesday by Mr. Beanie:laws, was finished by the postponement of the second reading for a month, and the adoption of an amendment moved by Mr. id tLNER GIBSON for the ap- pointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the state of education in those boroughs. There was a pretty general concurrence in this cour x even by the supporters of the bill. As it origioolly stood, the amend- ment would have pledged the House to the principle of local rating in support of education ; but, at the suggestion of Mr. WALPOLE, backed by Lord Jowls Russelt and other Members, the words expressing that pledge were omitted. The distinctive feature of the debate was the full de- scription given by a Minister of the nature of a private bill, under which denomination the measure was introduced. Mr. Itowevew raised the question whether the Secre:ary of State for the Home Department would allow the measure to proceed as a private bill ? Mr. WALPOLE said that the bill certainly came within the definition of a private bill. "They had constantly before the House bills involving great public ob- jects were dealt with as private bills ; and, if the -honourable Mem- er (Mr. Roebuck) would recall to his mind the standing orders with reset to private bills, he would find that they were divided into two classes, anu in the first of these classes he would see bills embracing such great public , objects as building or altering burial-grounds, building or maintaining churches or chapels, incorporating or giving additional powers to corpora- aeos, as well as matters relating to fisheries, pole and houses of correction, retturs patent, markets and market-places, &c. Ile did not, therefore, object tg am bill on the ground of its not being strictly a private bill, but upon the and that, being a private bill, it attempted to establish a great public „grita9 doe, which, if applied to Manchester and Salford, would be laid hold fd ii55 precedent for applying it to other populous towns which might not be 60 anxious to have that principle applied to them. And he thought that the House ought to be more than usually careful in this matter, because ra- dials which had been introduced into private bills had not long since been wed in argument as evidence of concession on a great question of public
The supporters' of the measure, besides the mover, were Mr. Csanwara. rola Mr. WILSON Parma. Lord JoiLa RUSSELL gave it a qualified sup- port; Mr. Milaina Ginsoat, Sir B;OBERT INGLIS, and Mr. W. J. Fox opposed it.
The care and custody of criminal lunatics was brought under the con- sideration of the House of Peers by the Earl of SHAFTESBURY, in a speech describing the condition into which that unhappy portion of the extununity has at last fallen as one of intolerable grievance. The cri- minal lunatics in England and Wales amount to 439-360 males, and 79 females. All of these are confined in asylums which admit of no com- plete separation of the criminal unfortunates from those untainted with crime. One of the gravest evils resulting from this arrangement is the danger in which it involves some of the greater establishments—Bethlem, and Fisher- ton; for while it is a known fact that lunatics cannot combine, yet it is equally known, that they will follow example implicitly and recklessly with an alacrity often only proportioned to the immorality or violence of the example. The Magistrates of counties and the Commissioners of Lunacy must be wholly exonerated from blame for this state of things; for they have repeatedly reported on the annoyances, perils, and injurious effects of the actual system, and have prayed the Secretary of State for ameliorations. Lord Shaftesbury exhibited a great mass of details, proving the substance of these reports and petitions. He proposed an address to the Crown, "to con- sider the expediency of establishing a State asylum for the care and custody of those who are denominated criminal lunatics.
The Earl of Denny acknowledged the deep importance of the subject, and the gratitude due to Lord Shaftesbury for having devoted attention to it for the last twenty years But he suggested great difficulties ; not the least of which would be the heavy expenditure involved—it might cost 100,0001. to add two wings to Bethlem Hospital. However, as the sub- ject should not_ be lost sight of by Government, he hoped that the motion would not be pressed.
Lord CHLNWORTH was grateful both for the speech of Lord Shaftesbury and for the assurance given by Lord Derby. Lord SHAFTESBURY satisfied with the manner in which the motion had been received, withdrew it
CRIME AND OUTRAGE IN ULSTER.
Mr. NAPIER moved, on Tuesday, for a Select Committee to inquire into the state of those parts of the counties of Armagh, Monaghan, and Loath, which were referred to in her Majeaty's Speech ; into the imme- diate cause of crime and outrage in those districts; and into the efficiency of the laws, and of their administration, for the suppression of such crime and outrage. In support of his motion, he made an elaborate speech, the chief object of which seemed to be to impress on the House the extent, truculence, and secrecy of "the Riband conspiracy" ; and he went through a great many cases describing its operation on society. Besides this, he hinted at a reenactment of a clause in the Riband Act, repealed in 1845, making the possession of pass-words and secret signs criminal ; and suggested an alteration of the Jury-laws. The evil was, he &aid, that jurors were intimidated ; and the only remedy for that state of things was "to have a higher class of jurors, and by means of the poor-rates they could easily get lists of persons with sufficient property to place them above the reaela of intimidation and bribery." Also he wanted power to change the venue in cases where great tyranny was exercised.
There was no apposition to the motion for inquiry ; but the debate was not allowed to close without a strong expression of opinion by Mr. M`Cur.aanx, that "the root of this fearful matter:" lies in the relation be- tween landlord and tenant.
DEPOSITORS IN CUFFE STREET SAVINGS-BANK.
Mr. JOHN REYNOLDS endeavoured on Thursday to obtain from the pre- sent Chancellor of the Exchequer a larger measure of justice to the de- positors in the Cuffe Street Sayings-bank than Sir Charles Wood con- ceded by his grant of 39,0004 Going over the case again, he moved for a Committee of the whole House on the subject, with the object of pray- ing the Queen to "consider the losses" of the unfortunate depositors, " and grant them a compensation." The CHANCELLOR of the EX011E- 'OVER adhered to the official policy of his predecessor. He admitted that the case is one for sympathy, and that there were, no doubt, appear- ances of negligence on the part of the Administration: but he thought that on an evamination in a rigid spirit, the depositors "have not-any legal nor even equitable claim for compensation,' and that they were very fortunate in having obtained the assistance they did from the House." Still, the whole question of the Savings-banks is one of the greatest importance, and he was prepared to say that it would receive the fullest consideration of the Government. Mr. HERBERT and some ether Members suggested that this assurance should be taken by Mr. Reynolds as sufficient; and Mr. NAPIER., the Irish Attorney-General, backed this suggestion, although he adhered to the opinion formerly ex- pressed by him, that the Government were called on to make full com- pensation for losses which happened through the negligence of their offi- cers. Mr. REYNOLD.S refused to withdraw his motion : he had brought it an in hopes inspired by the fact that no fewer than seven gentlemen now sitting on the Ministerial benches had voted with him on former occa-
sions,—including Lord Claude Hamilt, r. 13ateman, and Mr. Napier, all members of the Government its If. The motion was negatived, by 169 to 40.
POLICE CONSTABULARY: RULE CORPS.
The advantage of a general Police Constabulary, in extension of the Present chequered system of parish constables in general and a county Police in particular counties only, was mooted on Thursday by the Earl of Rtaxinsononcin. He pictured the evils to property and life that would arise upon a foreign invasion from the necessary suspension of all ordi- nary law and authority ; and suggested the benefit of having in existence a body of peaceful guardians of life and property, whose organization would permit it to attain an efficiency not much inferior to the military efficiency of a militia, and would offer great advantages in reference to mobility and a power of concentration upon any particular points of the whole country. He moved for returns of the Police force in Ireland. The Earl of Danny admitted that the subject had been put in a light worthy of consideration ; but he feared the expense. He intimated, that the present Government considers that the conclusion come to by the late Government in reference to Rifle Corps was a sound and reasonable de- cision; to which the present Government will adhere.
TEE Ramona= COAL-Td.X.
In reply to Mr. Haaroaam, the Cnaarcanzon. of the EXCHEQUER stated that it was not at present the intention of the Government to propose a tax on coals- " But, if such a proposition is likely to obtain the favour of the honour- able gentleman's constituents, it shaft receive on our part the most respect- ful attention." (Laughter and cheers.)
In reply to a question put by Mr. James Wilson, on Monday, before the great debate began, Sir Jona Raxioarron announced, that as the Mi- nisters were in an "acknowledged minority," he should not think it his duty to bring forward this session the motion on the Sugar-duties now standing on the paper as a dropped order; and he pledged himself not to interfere in any way with the reduction of the duty on Foreign sugar which would come into operation -on the 5th of July next.
ADVANCES TO HIGHLAND RAILWAYS.
Mr. STUART moved a resolution, on Tuesday, pledging the House to advance money for the purpose of constructing a railway between Oban in Argyllshire and Glasgow. The object of the advance would be the development of the commercial capacities of the Western Islands, which would by this means be brought into communication with the Southern markets. The people are poor to destitution, but tranquil in the midst of starvation. The sum required to construct the railway is beyond their means. As the practice of making advances is by no means new, he thought the Western Islands might reasonably claim that kind of assistance. Mr. MACGREGOR supported this view ; and maintained in addition, that the railway would be sure to pay. On the other side, Sir GEORGE STRICKLAND contended sharply, that the practice of advancing public money for private purposes, whether repaid or not, is false in principle. The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER would not admit that the principle is false, but great caution must be used in applying it. He suggested that in the present instance, if an outlay of two-fifths of the capital had been made on the project, than the projectors might obtain assistance from the Loan Commissioners of the Public Works. On the whole, he gave a gentle but a decided oppositiou to the motion. The feeling of the House was rather favourable to the resolution; but, after some discussion, it was agreed to adjourn We debate to that day fortnight.
THE CRYSTAL PALACE.
Mr. Tames DUNCOMBE inquired on Tuesday, whether it is intended to remove or retain the building of the Great National Exhibition ? Lord Jorisr MANNERS, first Commissioner of Works, replied, that the Commis- sion has recommended that the existing agreement should not be altered; and that, therefore, Government does not intend to interfere with the existing arrangements which would necessitate the removal of the building.
A resolution was passed on Tuesday, at the instance of Mr. Gnoosx, agreeing to the appointment of a Select Committee " to inquire and re- port upon the present mode of engraving, printing, and gumming the postage label stamps ; and likewise whether and how the perforating- machine invented by Mr. Archer could be applied to the same with ad- vantage to the public."
Mr, ADDER= asked, on Monday, whether any instructions would be sent by the next mail to suspend or alter the instructions given by Lord Grey to General Cathcart, Perhaps Sir John Pakington would also state whether he had received a petition from the Cape to her Majesty, praying that she would refuse her assent to certain ordinances passed by the Le- gislative Council with a view of delaying the application of the Constitu- tion? Sir Joins PAKINGTON said, that he had not sent any counter- manding instructions to General Cathcart. He had received the petition mentioned, by the last mail; and "ho had thought it his duty to send out despatches to the Legislative Council advising that they should as soon as possible consider the Constitutional Ordinances necessary, and that they should reserve questions of legislation of a less urgent nature for the consideration of a future Parliament' This answer, being deemed satis- factory, was received with cheers.
Narrow OF Monona.
Mr. H. BERKELEY to move, on Tuesday week, for leave to bring in a bill to make vote by ballot the law of the land. Mr. Locals LNG, on the same day, moves for leave to bring in a bill making the franchise in Eng- land and in Wales the same in counties as in boroughs, and limiting the poll in counties to one day.