22 JULY 1843, Page 1


THAT awkward process the throwing overboard of hopeless mea- sures, to lighten the vessel for attaining the haven of the recess, was performed by Sir ROBERT PEEL on Thursday ; when he stated

what measures Ministers give up for the present, what they pursue. They abandon the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill, the Factories Bill, (a mere residue of the original Factories Bill,) and the Irish Law Courts

Bill; it is doubtful whether they will or will not abandon the County Courts Bill; they pursue the Scottish Church Bill, the lately- introduced bill on the law respecting Exportation of Machinery, the Irish Poor-law Bill, and the Irish Arms Bill. None of the measures to which they fully adhere are calculated to excite a very general interest in England. These Ministers, like their Whig pre- decessors, have had to run the gauntlet through a storm of reproaches for their barren attempts at legislation, the close of the session approaching with so little done; and they have but poor excuses. The tables are completely ,turned—with this striking difference between their case and that of the Whigs, that whereas the Whigs were positively and obviously unable to do any thing for waht of sufficient numbers on their side, the Conservatives have a strong Majority. Sir ROBERT PEEL pleads in extenuation the growing practice of adjourned debates : and' undoubtedly much of the so-called discussion is futile. If every speaker contributed some new argument or view, however small, it would not be so bad; but half of a debate, at least, consists in a repetition of what had been said just the minute before. The reproach attaches equally to all parties. But there was last session the same, if not more, disposition to obstruct ; yet there was not the same break- down. The reason is, that, last session, although the same mea- sures were discussed night after night, there were some great re- sults. The greatest result yet attained is the Canada Wheat Bill— an appendix to last year's deeds. Some of the measures of the present year were contrived in the worst manner to attain large results in proportion to the difficulty and obstruction inevitably to be encountered. A capital instance is the Arms Bill. Much ex- aggerated opprobrium has been lavished on it, for party purposes; but the demerit to which we now allude lies in the construction of the measure as one to be passed through the House of Commons. It is about as well-contrived for that purpose as an ear of rye for being forced, tip-foremost, down a man's throat. Had Government merely proposed the continuance bill, not a word would have been said—even very liberal Members, out of doors, talk of more arbi- trary proceedings for Ireland with complacency : but Ministers tacked to a bill that must be passed, clauses that were salient points to court obstruction : opponents were but too eager to seize the advantage ; and a measure which, when it is done, will bring little or doubtful advantage and no credit, has been one of the most laboriously discussed of the season. Ministers did not wish it to be so ; but they did not shape their course so as to avoid it. The event is no test of intentions, or of capacity ; but of actual power it is the only test. It appears that Ireland was so com- pletely excluded from Sir ROBERT PEEL'S scheme of positive go- vernment, that no calculation could have been made as to the fric- tion and counteraction to be met by a coercive bill in Parliament, with so much of newness about it as to afford a pretext for consi- dering it out of the routine. Any old established item of mis- government in Ireland, undisturbed by the Whigs, would have passed; but the old system of Irish rule is so bad, that even one grain added to it affords a show of reason for denunciation. That peculiarity in Irish affairs was not considered. The unfortunate selection of measures by a party with a new reputation for legisla- tive tact to keep up, the ill-adaptation of some well-meant mea- sures to secure their own ends, (like the original Factories Bill,) and the especial fitness of others only to provoke obstruction turd odium, are bringing the session to a mortifying close. The most important business done has been in the House of Lords; where the new libel law, Lord-C-Alapsku:s really excellent [LATEST EDITION.] Defamation and Libel Bill, has made progress. In Committee, on Tuesday, the amendments generally went to strengthen the bill. One provision, intended to be stringent, was struck out—that which made the securities of a newspaper at the Stamp Office liable for the damages and costs in actions of libel; for it appears that such is the existing law already, though everybody has over- looked it ; so that the clauses on that head in the bill were un- necessary. Another amendment made a real hole in the bill. One provision gave impunity to bond fide reports of proceedings in Parliament, in the Law Courts, and in Police Courts. Divers ob- jections were urged against the proposition ; but the efficient one seemed to be, that while it is not practically needed, it is at vari- ance with the standing orders of Parliament for the exclusion of strangers. At present, argued Lord BROUGHAM, the standing orders give a power, which, though seldom used, constitutes a salu- tary check on the report of libellous matter ; and if absolute impunity were extended to reports, newspapers desiring to be libellous might procure injurious statements to be made on purpose to be reported. On the other hand, if it is desirable to impose a check on speeches, why not do so directly, by keeping speakers within bounds ? or if by standing orders, why not make the standing orders just the check that is needed, instead of leav- ing them an obsolete fiction, deliberately to be violated by all par- ties, and retained only because they may be observed once in a generation or so ? "Why should not the country know, in an easy and direct way, all that happens in the country's councils ? There is too much horror of having things which are said printed. STOCRDALE'S case still haunts the Commons; for Mr. PEARLS, the clerk of attorney HOWARD, has brought his action against the Sergeant-at-Arms for an arrest three years ago. The Scottish Church Bill has passed in the Lords, with a cha- racteristic manifestation : the Marquis of BREADALBABE, the Seces- sion Peer, as Nonintrusionist declared that the bill would by no means satisfy the Nonintrusion party ; as patron, he protested against the transfer of patronage from its present possessors to the Church.