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1. LOCAL JURISDICTION BILL. In the House of Lords on Mon- day, Lord BROUGHAM moved that the House resolve itself into Corn- mittee on the Local Jurisdiction Bill. He began by congratulating himself and the country on the large attendance of their Lordships on this occasion (the Opposition benches were unusually full, and this re- mark elicited cheers and laughter from the Ministerial side of the House).
It showed that their Lordships came down to discuss this bill in that calm,
temperate, and serious manner, which so important a measure demanded. (Re- newed laughter.) It proved that they meant to give to the bill their most grave consideration ; that they would examine all the principles on which it was founded ; that they would investigate all the details of which it consisted ; and
i that every part of it should meet with the deliberate attention which the great magnitude of the question required. So long as their Lordships continued so to discharge their duties,—so long as they persevered in showing themselves atten- tive to what was most conducive to the interests of their fellow-subjects,—so long as they found it expedient not only to entertain, but favourably to meet, any proposition made for improving the condition of the people, by amending j the laws under which they lived, by purifying the administration of justice, and by manifesting a sincere desire to meet the feelings and wishes of their
fellow- countrymen, when properly expressed,—and when they could do so consistently with their sense of duty and the dictates of their conscience,—so long. Political Unions might combine, and meetings might assemble, and mobs might rage, and the licentiousness of the press expend itself, all would assail their Lordships in vain ; and even those threats which had recently been made would fall per- fectly harmless on that high council of Parliament.
He then proceeded to say, that the opinions of the most eminent per- sons in the legal profession, notwithstanding the opposition of some so- licitors and others, were decidedly in favour of the measure. The Com- mon Law Commissioners approved of it ; and he quoted the opinion of several bankers and merchants, who stated they were in the habit of giving up all attempts to recover debts due to them, in consequence of the expense attending the prosecution of even successful actions. The retail dealers in Fenchurch Street, when applied to declared that they were incompetent to give an opinion on the subject, as they had such a . horror of law that they never had the courage to go into a court. Other remedies for this evil had been suggested, one was the removal of claims of a certain amount to the adjudication of the Quarter-Sessions; but they were already overloaded with business. The other was the improvement of County Courts ; but these were so numerous and dif- ferent in their modes of practice, that it would be easier to frame new courts entirely than to improve them. In the Sheriff's Court of Scot- land, every action between man and man was tried in an expeditious and cheap manner. These courts were also susceptible of great im- provethent, but still they were such as Englishmen might look upon with envy. A man might sue there for 121. ; and if the action were undefended, which was often the case, the costs did not exceed 10s. If the case were defended, it would amount to much more—it might come to 51., which was a great deal too much ; and in this respect the courts ought to be improved. But even here, the plaintiff had an advantage which he could not have in England, for after the taxation of costs, he would find that he obtained the sum for which he sued within 5s., while the plaintiff in Westminster Hall very frequently found him- self out of pocket in consequence of his costs in recovering a verdict for 151. or- 20/. Now, in Scotland a man who sued and recovered a verdict for 1001. would not find himself out of pocket more than 20s.
There had been only 117 appeals against 22,000 decisions given in these courts, on actions for more than .5/. during each of the last three years. Thus, causes involving 500,000/. worth of property bad been finally and satisfactorily settled, within that short period, at a very small expense. There would be a necessity for exacting some fees from - the suitors in the new courts,—which he regretted extremely, and the impolicy of which he fully agreed on. It arose, however, from the strong repugnance of the people to submit to any direct additional bur- den. In the first bill, the jurisdiction of the courts was to extend to cases where the sum did not exceed 100/. ; but, in compliance with the suggestion of the Common Law Commissioners, he had limited it to 201. for the present. He hoped that the result of this experiment would be to afford the people of this country cheap, effectual, and uni- versal justice.
Lord LYNDHURST maintained that the great body of the learned pro- fession, with a few eminent exceptions, were directly opposed to this new plan of Lord Brougham for establishing Local Courts. He was not inclined to attach much importance to the opinions of those other classes of persons on which so much stress had been laid. He eulo- gized the characters of the English Judges, and the disinterestedness of the lawyers. Not more than one out of fifteen cases ever came to trial, owing to the honest advice given to their clients by the legal pro-. fession. The beauty of this preventive part of our system should always be born in mind whenever they were called upon to legislate on this subject. Ile dwelt upon the advantages derived from the freedom from all local prejudice which the Judges possessed, in consequence of their mode of attending the assizes ; and quoted_ Blackstone and Sir Matthew Hale, to prove the great inconvenience which had resulted in former times from so much of the law business of the country being transacted in the Local Courts, which were now in effect proposed to be revived. The present measure would detach at least two thirds of the btisiness from Westminster Hall. The Local tribunals would be
quite disqualified from truing many of the causes which would come before them—such, for instance, as actions for libel.
What ! try a libel by six common jurymen, under a judge easiding on the spot, knowing the parties intimately, and influenced by local prejudices ! He denied that the proposed system had been fairly tried in Scot- land. The Scotch Courts worked abominably; and he could quote the declaration of Mr. Cutler Fergusson to prove the great delay in the administration of justice, which was the consequence of confiding so much to their jurisdiction. In fact, the practice of the Scotch Courts was admitted to be a nuisance. The Sheriff-Depute frequently never looked at his papers : and in one county, some Eose-leaves were put between the pages, and the papers were returned with the rose- leaves unruffled. The cheapness of law was felt to be a great curse in America, as appeared from the accounts of Captain Basil Hall and Mr. Faux. He maintained, that in many respects it would also prove to be a curse to this country. The Local Judges would become mere drones, and the barristers men upon whose honour no reliance could be placed. Judges, barristers, and attornies, would be involved by it in one common ruin. Its establishment would cost the country not 150,0001., but 250,000/. or 300,000/. ; and to pay such a sum for vague, indefinite, and uncertain justice, was an absurdity which the other House of Parliament never would sanction. Instead of the scheme proposed, he thought it would be better for the Judges to go three, in- stead of two circuits in the year ; and then there would be no ground to complain of the delay of justice. He was glad that the visionary scheme of a Court of Reconcilement, which had signally failed in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Holland, was abandoned. He had no personal interests to serve by his opposition to this measure : it was not a party question, and he was sure that their Lordships would not treat it as such. He -concluded by moving that the bill be read a second time that day three months.
After a pause, followed by a cry of " Question !"
Lord BROUGHAM rose to reply. He said, that notwithstanding Lord Lyndhurst's profession of impartiality and fairness, he had never heard a statement more full of overlooking of the facts of the case,—more full of.overlooking of the provisions of the measure to which the noble and learned lord professed to have paid so much attention, and of the recommendations of that report, which he likewise professed deeply to have studied, and on which the present measure was grounded,—a statement more full of unintentional omissions and slight dis- regard of facts, he had never yet heard, either from the noble and learned lord himself or from any other person.
He proceeded to defend the measure, at great length. He thought that the trading community, whom he had described as the prey of the present system of dear and tardy justice, were full as likely to give a disinterested opinion respecting its operation as the barristers and at- tornies, upon whose opinion Lord Lyndhurst placed so much reliance.
Every one of those witnesses—the pettiest tradesman of them all—however ignorant be might be of the law, however prejudiced against the Insolvent Acts, and however ill-qualified to give counsel as to the proper tribunal to be esta- blished ; every one of them was-ten thousand times a better witness to the fact to prove which alone he had resorted to their evidence, than his noble and learned friend, or that galaxy of talent and honesty to which the noble and learned lord had referred, and of which he was the favourite, if not the chosen advocate—namely, that disinterested body of men, the lawyers in Westminster Hall ; the barristers, both town and provincial, high and low ; 'every thing, in short, that belonged to a court of justice, from the registrars down to the clerks, the mace-bearers, and the purse-bearers of the judges; and particularly the so- licitors and attornies, and the solicitors' and attornies' clerks. ('cheers and laughter.) This was the body to which Iris noble and learned friend referred, and which was notorious for nothing so much as talent and skill, dexterity, pro- fessional acuteness nimbleness in getting out of difficulty themselves, and get- ting others into it if they-could. (Laughter.) It was not, however, for these qualities which the community at large allowed them one and all to possess in an almost unlimited degree, that his noble and learned friend had eulogized them. The theme of the noble and learned lord's panegyric was their purity, their dis- interestedness, their self-denial, their entire abnegation of all feeling of self. (Laughter.)
The objection to the amendment of the law, though distributed pretty universally, was not distributed equally among lawyers.
Those highest in the profession had the largest proportion of this bad thing, as they usually had of the good things of the law; and, generally-speaking, the judges were those who possessed the most deeply-rooted prejudices against any amendment of the law.
He said, that whether you took the number of writs issued -or the number of eases tried, it would appear, that not two thirds, -but one third only, would be abstracted by his bill from the business of the -courts at Westminster Hall.
It was said that the Sheriff's Courts in Scotland did not work -well ; but he repeated, in contradiction to this assertion, that out of 22,000 rases decided in those courts, only 117 had been carried to a higher tribunal. The Courts of Reconcilement too had been sneered at by Lord Lyndhurst; but,
In the course of eighteen years, no fewer than 724,000 cases had been carried before Courts of Reconciliation on the Continent; and of these cases 448,000 were settled by the process of reconcilement. To this he would add, that in 1823, 31,000 cases were brought into the Courts of Reconciliation, and of those 21,000 were settled.
It would be in vain to say that the Courts of Westminster Hall would not flourish—they would, and they ought to flourish.
But this was required, and it was but common justice to ask for this,—that the shame and the scandal, and the opprobrium should be removed, of men coming forward, not to give advice, but to state the result of their sufferings under the system ; and the result of all that had been brought forward was, that for debts of small amount the subjects of the Crown found .themselves in the courts of justice barred of their rights ; that the justice of which so much was boasted
was only a mockery, and that it was not possible for any one to have it if he bad not money in his pocket ; that if a man had a debt of 181. due to him, he must pay twice as much to recover it, and that if he failed, however just his claim, he not only lost that, but had enormous costs in addition to submiteo; when it was known that in the County Counts, as now constituted, incurred acasie!had occurred, that for a pound of butter, valise 8d., 301. costs were; when in another case; imthecountyOf Sussex, a man was surnamed thirty }Piles from his home to the County Court to answer for it debt of es., which he had paid, and which
he paid again sooner than go. But this was nothing, for there was no doubt that many would pay and had paid 5/. rather than submit to expense and incon- venience. He concluded by reminding the House, that he had brought this. measure forward when there was not the least probability of his being in office, and by strenuously denying that the bill was introduced with any idea of its becoming a source of patronage to Government.
The question was then put, and the " Contents " were declared to have it ; but one Lord repeated the " Non-contents," and the House was closed for a division. None, however, took place, and their Lord- ships went into committee on the bill pro forma. To be recommitted on Friday, and printed with an amendment proposed by the Lord Chancellor.
2. Iitisu CHURCH REFORM. On the motion of Lord ALTIIORP, on Monday, the House resolved itself into a Committee, on this bill. The several clauses from the 19th to the 39th were agreed to. A dis- cussion arose on the 28th clause, in which Mr. Gonixe, Mr. Beldam, Mr. STANLEY, Mr. HALCO3IR, Mr. LEFROY, Dr. LUSIIINGTON, and Mr. Slimy, took part respecting the translation of the Bishops. Mr. GORING proposed an amendment to prevent their translation ; which, however, was negatived, and the clause was carried as it originally stood. It was agreed that the discussion on the different clauses in the bill should be carried on every day till they were all gone through.
On Tuesday, accordingly, the discussion was resumed in a Commit- tee of the whole House. Clauses 39, 40, and 41, were agreed to with- out opposition. On the 42d clause, which relates to the rotation of the Irish Bishops in Parliament, being read, Mr. PRYME moved as an amendment, That no Irish Bishop, not a Bishop at the passing of the present bill, should hereafter sit: in the House of Lords of the United Kingdom ; that when by death, resignation, or otherwise, the number of the .present Bishops shall have been reduced to twelve, only two shall sit by rotation .• when reduced to six, only 1 ; and that on their demise, no Irish prelate shall sit in Parliament, ex- cept one Archbishop. His object was to separate the offices of politician and prelate, which were not compatible. By relieving the Irish prelates from the burden- of acting as legislators in Parliament, he felt he should be promoting their ecclesiastical efficiency, and thereby the interests of the Established Church. He framed his clause so as to preserve the existing interests of the Irish
Mr. STANLEY said, that the ohjcet of the amendment was to pre- vent the Bishops from sitting in Parliament : this involved a great con- stitutional principle, and should not be introduced by a kind of side- wind. Upon the ground adduced by Mr. Pryme the English Bishops ought also to be excluded. He opposed the motion of Mr. Pryme, as ill-timed, but would not express any opinion as to the principle in- volved in it.
Mr. HUME expressed himself quite ready to exclude the English as well as the Irish Bishops from a scat in the legislature.
Colonel PERCEYAL, Mr. WYNN, Mr. ESTCOURT, Sir E. KNATCII- BULL, and Mr. SHAW, opposed the amendment.
Lord ALTHORP said, that it would be a total alteration of the consti- tution to remove the Bishops from the House of Lords. A motion to effect that purpose should be brought forward separately, and be well considered. He hoped that no feeling of hostility to seeing the Church represented in the House of Lords existed in the country.
Mr. HUME asked if Lord ALTHORP meant to deny that there ex- isted a feeling against the Bishops sitting in the House of Lords ?
Lord ALTHORP did not mean to deny it ; but his impression was that the feeling was not general.
Mr. HUME said—" Ere long the noble Lord will find himself des ceived."
Mr. PRYME then withdrew his amendment, and the clause -was agreed to, as were also the other clauses down to the 90th.
On Thursday, the several clauses from the 90th to the 118th were agreed to, without discussion.
The discussion was resumed in Committee last night. The several clauses from the 119th to the 132d were agreed to. On the 132d clause—which provides for the mode of valuing land under Bishops' leases, in order to sell it, and which prescribes that improvements made in the land shall be taken into consideration—Lord OXMANTOWN moved an amendment, purporting that the valuation should be made according to the custom of the diocese ; the object of which was to pre- vent improvements made on the land, such as buildings, planting, &c. being included in the valuation. On this amendment, a long and de- sultory conversation took place. Almost till the members for Ireland, including both Mr. SHAW and Mr. O'CONNELL, supported the-amend- ment. Mr. STANLEY, the SOLICITOR..GENERAL, and Dr. LUSHINGTON opposed it. The Committee divided, and the amendment was carried by 85 to 49.
The clauses of the bill from the I32d to the 147th were then agreed to ; with the exception of the 136th and 138th, which were struck out.
Mr. STANLEY then moved to strike out the 147th clause ; which provided, that the money arising from the conversion of Bishops' leases into perpetuities, should be applied to such purposes as Parliament might hereafter appoint and direct; and also to strike out the exception of the perpetuity-purchase fund in the 44th clause. He stated that many persons were strongly opposed to the principle which they con- ceived to be maintained by this clause,—namely, that it established the right of Parliament to appropriate Church property to secular purposes. He proposed therefore to strike cut the words, " to such purposes as Parliament may appoint," &c., to the end of the 54th clause ; and then add the, words, " Vestry Cess." [The clause, as amended, will autho- rize the application of the funds so raised to the extinguishment of Vestry Cess, but not to any secular purposes.] Mr. Stanley then inti- mated, that without Mis concession, the Bill would not be allowed to pass the Lords. He maintained that the principle of the measure re- mained inviolate, notwithstanding this alteration. Mr. O'CONNELL, in very indignant terms, reproached the Ministers for giving up the only good principle of the measure, which they were solemnly pledged to carry or to .resign their places. So help him God, so base an act of treachery as Ministers had been guity of, he had never known. He charged them with a cowardly -dread of the Tories, in spite of their vaunted determination to encounter them on the principle of this bill.
Mr.. STANLEY defended Ministers ; and again warned the House of the Serious consequences of a rejection of the measure. He dwelt also
at some length on the advantage to be derived from extinguishing the Vestry Cess.
Mr. O'CONNELL said he really did not know what was to be done with the Vestry Cess.
Mr. STANLEY replied, 'that Mr. O'Connell had been in the fullest consultation with Government as to the mode in which the clause was to be framed.
Mr. O'ComaLt admitted that he had been in close consultation with Ministers on the subject, but said that nothing was settled.
Mr. HUME asked, what security the House or the country could have that the Government would carry any other bill, if they abandoned the great principle of this ? He reminded Ministers of Lord Althorp's statement, that the measure would place three millions at the disposal of the Government. Their conduct showed a lamentable want of firmness, and was a disgraceful breach of public faith. Ministers de- serted their duty to keep their places.
Mr. MACAULAY thoroughly approved of the alteration in the clause. No member of the Ministry had advocated the principle of converting Church property to secular purposes. The funds which would be raised by this bill, they did not consider Churls property.
Mr. HARVEY said, that so far from the House of Commons coercing the Lords, it appeared that the most essential measures were to be mutilated for fear of displeasing the other House. He maintained, that the grand principle of the bill was destroyed by the alteration.
Mr. STANLEY again vindicated the conduct of Government, at considerable length.
Dr. LUSIIINGTON deprecated a collision between the two Houses of Parliament on a matter of this description, in which, he maintained, no great principle was involved.
Mr. O'CONNELL reproached some members with violating their pledges on the hustings. ( Cries of " You pledged yourself to repeal the Union.") He denied it indignantly. (" Yes, you did, and shrunk from it.") Mr. O'Connell again denied the imputation, with warmth. He was called to order by the Chairman, and a scene of much confusion ensued.
Sir ROBERT PEEL, Lord SANDON, and Lord EBRINGTON, approved of the alteration. Sir ROBERT, however, did not much rejoice at it, as he was able to prove that there never could or would be any surplus to appropriate.
Colonel DAVIES, in very strong !language, reproached Ministers for their conduct on this occasion, and expressed his willingness to give in his devoted adhesion to Sir Robert Peel, who had more in his head than all the Ministry put together.
Mr. F. O'CONNOR, Mr. HEATHCOTE, Mr. GISBORNE, Mr. HARDY, and Dr. BALDWIN, supported the clause as it originally stood.
Mr. D. BROWNE said, it always gave him great pain to differ from Ministers, but now be was compelled to do so. He had rather see the Ministry broken up and Tories in their places, than that it should go forth in Ireland that Church property was inalienable.
Mr. ROBERT FERGUSON said, that the withdrawal of the clause would do away with the principle of the bill.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL said, the question to be considered was,
Whether, at the present season, they would think it worth while to-pass a bill which contained many essential benefits, although it did not sanction a prin- ciple to which there now existed great, and, perhaps, insuperable objections. (Cheers from the Tories.) If that House was to enter into a contest with the House of Lords, he hoped the contest would take place on a question of some im- portance, and that they would not wantonly and on trivial grounds provoke a collision.
He felt himself bound to do all in his power for the security of pro- perty, and to promote tranquillity. The country could not stand a re- volution once a year. Others might be for convulsion, he was peace.
Mr. STANLEY wished the House to be aware, that the clause did not open the question whether the State had or had not a right to deal with Church property. That was not the question at issue ; and those who voted for the omission of the clause might adhere to and act upon their opinion, that Parliament might interfere with Church property without any inconsistency whatever.
The Committee then divided : for expunging the clause, 280; against it, 148; Ministerial majority, 132.
3. hum TITHES. In the House of Lords, on Friday, the Earl of WICKLOW moved for a return of all sums collected by the Government under the act of last session for the recovery of tithes and the relief of the Clergy. He supported his motion in a long speech ; severely re- prehending the conduct of Government, which had been highly in- jurious to the country, notwithstanding the self-complacency with which Lord Brougham had detailed their various measures, and the Herculean labours they had endured.
Lord MELBOURNE, in allusion to this last remark, said— If they were to talk of self-complacency, he must say that no one exhibited it in a higher degree than Lord Wicklow. himself. The handsome Narcissus, when he saw himself in the fountain, did not gaze with more complacency on nis own beauty, than did the noble Earl listen to the strains of his own elo- quence; and, as Narcissus, after long admiring himself, thought himself much handsomer than he had ever before deemed he was, so did the noble Earl, after long listening to himself, think himself more able to talk than he had ever be- fore fancied. ( Much Laughter.) The noble Earl's fault it was for giving the opportunity for these remarks. Lord Melbourne should not continue them, but would just add, that heagreed with the man of antiquity who, when he was abused by some talking fellow, said, "we are not equal in this contest— you are accustomed to these things—I am not." (Hear, hear!) The Duke of WELLINGTON would plainly state the question of tithes, and the manner in which they were to be commuted— The plain matter was this : here was one description of property, for the loss of which the owners were to be compensated—bow ? By a land-tax levied on another species of property. That was the proposition. And how it was to be worked—what were the details, they were entirely in the dark about. They were not only in ignorance, but Ministers had shown that they were not able to give any information upon the subject. But this was not the whole. The Resolutions stated that a land-tax must be levied, and this must of course be paid by the landowner.
He reproached Government for promoting the great Agitator to the dignity'of King's counsel, at a time when he should have been punished for breaking the laws.
Earl GREY defended the conduct of Government in a speech of great length.
Lord BROUGHAM maintained, that at the time Mr. O'Connell was made a King's counsel, he was not acting illegally ; and that the honour was no more than that learned and eminent individual was en- titled to.
The Earl of RODEN, the Marquis of WESTMEATH, and Lord WYN- FORD, took part in the discussion. It terminated in the Earl of WICK- LOW'S withdrawing his motion.
4. EAST INDIA CHARTER. Mr. CHARLES GRANT and other mem- bers of the House of Commons, on Monday, appeared at the bar of the House of Lords to desire a conference with the Peers on the sub- ject of the renewal of the East India Company's Charter. The Mar- quis of Lansdowne, the Earl of Ripon, the Marquis Wellesley, the Earl of Rosslyn, Lord Auckland, Lord Ellenborough, and the Bishop of Hereford, were appointed to conduct the conference on behalf of their Lordships, in the Painted Chamber. On their return to the House, the Marquis of LANSDOWNE stated, that the Commons desired their Lordships' concurrence to certain resolutions passed on Thursday last, relative to the renewal of the East Indii Charter ; and on the mo- tion of Earl GREY, Friday week Was appointed for this discussion.
5. SLAVE EMANCIPATION. Mr. STANLEY and other members of the House of Commons appeared at the bar of the House of Lords on Thursday, to desire a conference with their Lordships on the sub- ject of Negro emancipation. The Earl of RIPON, the Duke of RICHMOND, the Earls of GosroaD and WICKLOW, the Bishop of LONDON, and Lords SUFFIELD and LYTTLETON, were appointed managers on the part of the Peers. On their return from the Painted Chamber, Lord RIPON stated, that the concurrence of the Lords was desired to the resolutions for the abolition of Slavery, passed by the Commons ; and be gave notice that on Tuesday next he should move that these resolutions be considered.
6. CORN LAWS. Mr. FRYER, on Tuesday, moved for leave to bring in a bill to alter and amend the existing Corn Laws. His object, he said, was not to pull down the aristocracy or the King, but to pro- cure food and employment for the people. He argued at some length against the policy of the Corn Laws, and exposed their iniquitous ope- ration. Their repeal would benefit all classes.
The present system was, however, upheld by the landed oligarchy of this coun- try. By them the monopolies, from which so much injury had accrued to the country, had been supported. What was the Reform Bill for, but to break the neck of the borouglunongering landed oligarchy of the country ? Yet, though much was promised by the Reform Bill, nothing had as yet been done. Lord Althorp could not tell to-day what he meant to do to-morrow. (A laugh.) Oh! said Mr. Fryer, with peculiar emphasis, there must not be this vacillating—it would not do. (Renewed laughter.) The continuance of the Corn Laws had ruined the farmers, and would ultimately, he was convinced, ruin the landlords. Lord Althorp had the other day, all but called the member for Whitehaven a rogue, and yet the noble lord was now doing that which it might have been sup- posed the member for Whitehaven would have called on the noble lord to do. This was a most " Barringtonian" method of doing things. (Laughter.) In short, the Government, in fact, were killing the goose for the sake of the eggs.
He hoped that Lord Althorp, however, would support his motion, and he was sure that Mr. Poulett Thompson ought to support it, as he had lately at Manchester hoisted the flag of free trade.
Lord ALTHORP thought that as the question had been already thoroughly. discussed this session, it was not necessary to go over tint ground again. He therefore moved the previous question.
Mr. HUME, Mr. O'CONNELL, Colonel EVANS, Mr. MARK PHIL- LIPS, Mr. W. WurrmoilE, and Mr. AGLIONBY supported, and Major HANDLEY, Mr. BENETT, Mr. PEASE, and the Earl Of DARLINGTON opposed it. The motion was finally rejected, the numbers on the di- vision being, for it 47; against it 72.
7. OCCUPATION OF ALGIERS. The Earl of ABERDEEN, on Fri- day, made some remarks tending to elicit from Government an expla- nation relative to the occupation of Algiers by the French. Earl GREY declined discussing the subject then, but would be prepared to discuss it at the proper time. The Marquis of LONDONDERRY and the Earl of RIPON spoke a few words, and the conversation was discon- tinued.
8. CLAIMS UPON THE DANISH GOVERNMENT. A conversation took place in the House of Commons on Wednesday, upon the pre- sentation, by Mr. GROTE, of a petition from the merchants whose pro- perty had been confiscated by the Danish Government during the last war.
Mr. GROTE, Lord MORPETH, Captain YORKE, Mr. WARBURTON, and Mr. MARK PHILLIPS, thought that the claims of the petitioners, were just.
Mr. CossETT objected to voting away the people's money in order to satisfy these claims. The Danes, he said, strictly speaking, bad a right to confiscate the property ; the country was not bound to indem- nify merchants for losses sustained in war. Lord MORPETH regretted that none of the Ministry were present at the discussion.
Mr. PARKER said he would not let the matter rest, but would bring the subject before Parliament.- in a specific motion, if something were not done respecting it before the next session.
9. AMENDMENT OF THE REFORM BILL ; QUALIFICATION OF VOTERS. Colonel EVANS moved, on Tuesday, for leave to bring in a bill to amend so much of the Reform Act, as related to the payment of rates and taxes as a qualification for exercising the elective franchise. The effect of this, clause had been to disfranchise 300,0000 voters all over the country. In Westminster it was expected that there would have been 18,000 erectors, whereas there were only 6,000.
Lord ALTHORP was adverse to making any alteration in the Reform Bill during the present session. The object of the claw was to afford a satisfactory proof of occupancy. Its effegtat the last election was to restrict the exercise of the elective franchise more than was intended or expected; but that objection would not apply to the next registration.
It was partly owing to the mode of collect:ng rates, and partly in consequence of the carelessness or imperfect information of electors, that the constituency had
• been so limited under this clause; but neither of those causes were likely to operate again ; and he did not think that, in the registration about to commence, there would be found that diminution of voters in consequence of non-qualifica- tion of which Colonel Evans complained.
He intended next session to propose some alteration in the Reform Act, but this was not one.
Mr. HUME, Mr. WARBURTON' and Mr. RostAvNE supported Colonel Evans's motion, upon which a division took place, when it was re- jected by a majority of 84 to 24.
10. TRIENNIAL PARLIAMENTS. Mr. TENNYSON gave notice, on Monday, for a call of the House to consider the question of shortening the duration of Parliaments.
11. POLITICAL UNIONS. The Earl of WINCIIILSEA, on Monday, asked if it was the intention of Government to introduce any measure for the suppression of Political Unions, which he described as living- highly pernicious.
Earl GREY, in reply, stated, that it did not appear to him necessary- to introduce any new laws bearing on the Political Unions.
He had never concealed his opinion as to the nature of those Unions; he bad said that they were inconsistent with good government, and that they were formed for the purpose of overawing and controlling .Parliament. But, to meet any attempt of that kind, the powers of the law, as it now existed, appeared to him to be amply sufficient ; and he hoped, if any thing improper was done by those Unions, that no indisposition would be manifested on the part of Govern- ment to use diose powers promptly.
The Earl of ELDON said, that be had been informed by an individual that the riots in Nottingham and Bristol were caused by inflammatory publications, thousands of which were put forth every day, without any attempt of the Government to put a stop to them.
Lou] MELBOURNE reminded Lord Eldon that one of the principal publishers of these papers was then in prison at the suit of the Stamp- Office. Be agreed with Lord Eldon in thinking that the Political Unions were in a high degree pernicious and inconsistent with the govern- ment of the country. He could prove, that while Lord Eldon was on the Woolsack, seditious publications were, from prudential motives, —the doubt as to obtaining convictions, and the fear of disseminating the mischief still further,—suffered to remain unnoticed by the Govern- ment.
Lord SEGRAVE said, that if Lord Eldon and his friends had not formed themselves into Conservative Clubs, the Political Unions would have ceased to exist some time ago.
The Earl of ELDON said, he had nothing to do with Conservative Clubs.
Lord SEGRAVE—" All I can say is, that the Political Unions have been kept up in consequence of the establishment of Conservative Clubs."
The Earl of ELDON—" I defy any man in the country to make out such a proposition."
The conversation then dropped.
12. GENERAL REGISTRY BILL. Mr. WILLIAM BROUGHAM, on Wednesday, moved the second reading of this bill.
Mr. SANFORD moved that it should be read that day six months. He said that it would be productive of extreme inconvenience, from the publicity which it would give to loan and other transactions. The evils arising from want of a registry had been much exaggerated.
Mr. IlonosoN seconded the amendment. He asked what was more probable, in case of a riot in London, than that the mob should attack and burn the building which contained the title-deeds of the land- owners?
Mr. LYNCH defended the bill.
The highest legal authorities, both ancient and modern, were in favour of such a measure as this, and it was one that was absolutely necessary for the pro- tection of purchasers. One great advantage attending the establishment of a general registry was, that it would secure the evidence of title-deeds; for, when they were lost at present, estates became unmarketable. At present the law afforded no security to the purchaser of lands against the operation of Crown debts ; by this bill that security would be afforded, inasmuch as the bill provided that all Crown debts should be registered as well as other liabilities affecting property. The purchaser at present could know nothing of the liabilities to which the property might be subject; but this convenience would arise from the provisions of the measure now before the House, that the purchaser would be empowered to lodge a caveat with the registrar, which would prevent the registration of any new deed that might interfere with the rights of the pur- chaser, with reference to the property sought to be affected by it.
Mr. TOOKE, Mr. STRICKLAND, Mr. BUNCOMBE, and Mr. CAYLEY, strongly disapproved of the measure.
Mr. TENNYSON wished for more time to consider it.
Sir JOHN CAMPBELL said, he should he much mortified if the Re- formed Parliament should declare itself against and reject a measure which experience had proved to be beneficial all over the world ; or, in other words, to reject that which had been tried and found beneficial to the public interests in Scotland, Ireland, France, and the Colonies.
Without entering into the details of the bill, he would come at once to the objections which had been suggested. It had been said its provisions were not sufficiently known, and that therefore it ought to pass to another session. That was not the just way to get rid of the subject. No further delay could be ne- cessary: the bill had already been brought forward in three sessions of Par- liament; it had been most extensively circulated amongst the magistrates at quarter-sessions ; it had been openly discussed at public meetings convened for the purpose in various parts of the country ; its merits and demerits had been fully discussed ' • petitions had been sent up and presented to the Legislature against it; and the House was now as fully competent to judge of it as by possi- bility it could be in another session:
Mr. PEASE objected to this measure, on several accounts..
He should wish to know how the country in general would like to be saddled with the expense of the building, the registrars, and the clerks, requisite to carry into effect the proposed system of registration? The titles of property in the country were to be sent to London by the coach : how many parcels had been lost by such a mode of conveyance ? Besides, the House ought to consider the expense which would be inflicted upon individuals, and upon individuals who were not able to bear the expense, by the establishment of such a regula- tion. Within the last twelve menthe, kind 'signed upwards of one hundred conveyances, in cases where the purchase-money of the fee simple did not ex- ceed 301.
The House divided : for the second reading, G9; against it, 82; majority 13. The bill is therefore rejected.
13. QUAKERS' AND MORAVIANS' AFFIRMATION BILL. The Duke of RICHMOND moved the second reading of this bill on Thursday. Lord WYNFORD suggested, that it ought to be made a part of the af- r12ation, that the party was really a Quaker or a Moravian; otherwise some imposition might be practised. The Bishop of LONDON wished to offer a few observations on the sul:ect of oaths in general, as they were administered in this country.
1: was a matter of very great importance both in a religions and moral point of ci,IV, and he was extremely sorry that the attention of the Legislature had not la,;211 more directly called to it. A bill had been brought in about two years ago hs the Marquis of Lansdowne, which in some degree lessened the evil to which h.: was adverting. He thanked the noble lord for that measure, because any mi,:lsure which tended to diminish the taking of a great number of oaths was a 1.:tie benefit. He could assure their Lordships, that there was a strong feeling tkis subject amongst the religious part of the community in this country. He dhl not think that he was going too far when he said, that there was no country in the world in which this most solemn and sacred obligation was administered with less gravity, with less impressiveness, with less decorousness of manner, than it Was in this country. I IC quoted the opinion of Dr. Paley respecting the injurious conse- el::.Hces arising from the frequency of Customhouse oaths more espe- cH/y, and the carelessness with which they were taken ; and although
I Lansdowne's bill had done away with the necessity of taking ten tl,■.tisand oaths in a year, still much of the evil remained.
ife would here refer to another class of oaths, which appeared to him to be 11.,b1e to great objection,—he adverted to the oaths taken in universities and schools. He felt that to administer an oath to a yourg man, not of full age, except in cases where truth was judicially sought, was very objectionable. Cer- tainly promissory oaths should not be exacted front therm He now publicly ex- pressed a hope that, as this subject had been taken up in one of the Univer- Cities, it would as soon as possible he entertained by the Legislature ; who ought to inquire how far it was consistent with sound religion and right principles to enforce on young mem not of age, an obligation for the observance of duties the performance of which might be exacted by easier means.
Lord BROUGHAM said, that the question ought to be taken up by the the Bishop of London himself: no one was more capable of doing it justice.
There was another description of oaths which, in his opinion, ought to be discouraged—he meant voluntary oaths or affidavits. A penalty should be in- flicted for administering such oaths, or a penalty should be levied on the indivi- dual taking them, if it appeared that he had been guilty of false swearing. As the law at present stood, it did not meet those cases. The Duke of RICHMOND, in order to show that the persons intended to be relieved by this bill would not scruple to do their duty, instanced the case of a Quaker, who, being on jury, did not hesitate to find a man guilty of felony.
Lord SUFFIELD observed, that Lord Wynford appeared to think that from some religious scruple a large body of men would violate their affirmations: now he thought the parties alluded to were as incapable of violating their affirmations as any noble lord was incapable of violat- ing his oath. Lord WvNronn said, be meant to cast no imputation upon the Quakers. He had not read the case cited by the Duke of Richmond, and could not therefore give a decided opinion upon it; but his impres- sion was,that the Judge had declared the verdict to be null and void, on the ground that an affirmation was not strong enough to overcome a religi- ous scruple.
The Duke of RICHMOND observed, that as Lord Wynforcl'had not read the ease to which he alluded, it would have been much better had be refrained from wasting their time in commenting upon it.
The Marquis of LONDONDERRY begged the Duke of Richmond to consider how far he was justified, even considering that he was a mem- ber of the Administration, in arrogating to himself the right of dic- tating to any member of that House what course he should adopt in the discharge of his duty.
The Duke of RICHMOND co.ild only attribute the observations of the noble Marquis to that willingness for which be was noted, of pushing himself forward on every skirmish, military or otherwise, no matter with whom or in what manner it originated.
For his own part, he could assure him that lie was at perfect liberty to attack him at all times, in all places, and in what manner he pleased ; and that all his skirmishes, if they succeeded in eliciting from him any notice whatever, would elicit merely a repetition of that merriment and good-humour with which he begged to observe he received his present outbreaking of martial spirit, (A laugh.) He could not, however, help observing, that if, in the course of a mi- litary campaign the noble Marquis, in command of a troop of Hussars, had moved into a skirmish in the ill-judged, hasty, and uncalled for manner lie had done on the present and on similar occasions, he would never have reaped that military renown with which his name was so justly surrounded. ( Cheers and laughter. ) The Marquis of LONDONDERRY congratulated the Duke of Rich- mond on the good-humoured tone of his concluding remarks ; which he had scarcely expected from the manner in which he had commenced speaking.
He begged, however, to assure him, that even supposing him the aggregate of the Administration, instead of, as was the case, but an individual Cabinet Mi- nister, he should always be ready, when occasion demanded, to give expression to his opinions; even though in doing so he laid himself open to invasion from the doubtless superlative abilities and masterly talents with which the noble Duke was endowed.
The Duke of RICHMOND—" It is very true that I am a Cabinet Minister; and I should not be at all surprised if the noble Marquis wishes for my place." (Laughter.)
The bill was then read a second time.
14. SEPARATISTS' AFFIRMATION BILL. This bill was read a third time lust night in the Commons, and passed.
15. SABBATH OBSERVANCE BILL 'FOR SCOTLAND. Sir ANDREW AGNEW moved fdr leave, on Monday, to bring in a bill to secure the better observance of the Sabbath in Scotland. Mr. HUME opposed the motion, and advised. Sir Andrew to wait till next session, and then
introduce a bill; applicable to the whole country. Lord ALTHORP thought it was occupying the time of the House ueneeessarily to bring in such a bill. Mr. WASON, Mr. Parma, and Mr. PRYME opposed, and Mr. A. Jonersraena and Mr. ESTCOURT supported the motion, which was carried by a majority of 73 to 60.
16. WARWICK ELECTION. Sir RONALD FERGUSON', on Friday, moved that a Select Committee be appointed to consider and report upon the best means of preventing future bribery in the borough of Warwick. Lord MOLYNEUX and Mr. 'ELLICE supported, and Sir John Haneten, Mr. HALCOMR, Sir Thomas FREMANTLE, and Sir E. KNATCHBULL, opposed the motion. It was carried by a majority of 97 to 11.
17. HOUSE AND WINDOW TAXES. Colonel EVANS, on Thursday, presented a petition from the parish of St. Ann, Westminster, for the repeal of these taxes. He had the highest authority for saying that they were improper ones, for Lord Althorp had himself voted against them when out of office.
Lord ALTHORP said, he had voted against them, but not advocated a repeal.
Colonel EVANS found his name in several lists.
Lord A teretoue—" I believe not."
Colonel EVANS proceeded to state several instances of the gross in- equality with which these taxes were levied.
Northumberland House was rated at 1,5001. and paid 41d. per square foot; while Lord Burlington's, which occupied about the saone space of ground, was rated at 1,3001. and paid only 24d. the square boa. Lord Lundonderry paid 2s. Gd. per foot, and Mr. Baring only Is. 3d. ; and he was sure Mr. _daring was as well able to pay his sham of taxation as the noble Marquis; and although he was a Tory, it was very hard to make him pay so tom'a inure.
After going through a long list of houses whose lethal was very un- equally proportioned to their real value and the pruperty of their occu- pants, he concluded with the following remark— Many of the newspapers had expressed a great deal :A-concern for the existence of the present Ministry, and had said that the country would be threatened with a revolution if the Whig Ministry was defeated in aunt her plate upon the Irish Church Bill ; but, if Government would not relax emin: of these burdens upon the People, he bad rather see them out ; and he could Lissom the Tories, that if they were willing to pledge themselves to a repeal of some of the most odious taxes, they might take the reins of government with 'perfect safety. (A inutik.)
Lord eleettorte reminded the House, that the principle of rating was founded upon the amount each house was supeused to be worth at a yearly rental.
With regard to the allusions which had been made to the circumstance of his own votes and previously expressed opinions, it would be in the recollection of the House that he had not supported the idea of repealing the whole of these taxes at once. He had always contended, that there ought not to be a surplus
revenue kept up for the purposes uf the State; but then, the repeal of one tax was impracticable, he would vote for the repeal of another.
Mr. COOl'ER, Mr. 1:01tINSON and Colonel Evees spoke a few
works ; and the petition was laid the table.
18. FACToRIES REGULATION BILL. This was read a second time on Monday, on the motion of Lord 11,:i!..!1". Lord ALTHORP stated, that in the report of the Commissiomea h would soon be laid upon tin table, it was recommended that - Le . of labour for children under fourteen should be limited to liners 19. TRIALS FOR PETTY LARCENY. Colonel DAV;S, on Friday, brought in a bill fur the more speedy trial of person,: aree: ed of Petty Larceny. It was read a first and second time, and ord::rei to be com- mitted on Friday the 27th.
20. DWELLINCIIIOUSE ROBBERY Mee. This Mil. which takes away the punishment of death for the crime of breaking into houses in the day-time, was read a third time in the House of Ccannons, on Wednesday, and passed.
21. Sr. LUKE'S POOR BILL. Lord WESTELN on Tuesday, moved the second reading of this bill ; the object of which was, he stated, to lower the qualification of individuals claiming a right to vote for vestry- men, and thereby to extend the constituency.
Lord SEGICAVE opposed the bill, and moved that it be read that day six mouths.
The House divided : for the second reading, 7; against it, 18. So the bill is lost.
22. APOTHECARIES BILL. This bill, on the motion of Mr. LAMB, was read a second time and committed on Tuesday ; and the report was ordered to be taken into consideration on Monday next.
23. Sraenenueres ON ADVERTISEMENTS BILL. This bill was read a second time in the Ilouse of Lords on Tuesday.
24. SHERIFF'S EXPENSES. The House divided, on Monday, on a motion by Mr. FYSHE PALMER to go into a Committee on this bill ; which was opposed by Sir E. KNATCHBuLL. For the motion, 42; against it, 25. The House then went into Committee ; when consider- able discussion arose respecting the first clause. Another division took place : for the clause, 32; against, 17. The bill then passed through the Committee.
25. ST. GEORGE STEAM NAVIGATION BILL. Lord SANDON, OR Wednesday, moved the third reading of this bill. Mr. WALLACE moved as an amendment, that it be read that day six months. The House divided: for the third reading, 24; against it, 47. So the bill is lost.
26. DUBLIN AND KINGSTOWN SHIP CANAL. On the motion of Mr. O'Coezetnee, on Thursday, a Select Committee was appointed to in- quire into the expediency and practicability of a ship canal between Dublin and the Asylum Harbour at Kingstown.