NEWS OF THE WEEK.
THE debates in Parliament during the week, have been long, and some of them important.
The new taxes have been further modified. The tax on cotton- wool will be now 5-8d. per pound, and no drawback will be al- lowed. at all. East India cottons are to be exempted. This is better than the first plan. The Ministers will, we suppose, be driven out of the steam-boat tax. The reduction of the newspaper- duty seems to have fallen stillborn—we have never heard of it since it was first announced. . Is it to be abandoned to the monied interests, or to the timbeitrade ? The Army Estimates have been partly discussed. . The Yeo- manry of Ireland --the most unpopular corps that ever was created, Whose very name is sufficient' to • rouse rebellion throughout, the Catholic population there—is about to be reimbodied for the pur- pose of preserving the peace. The, two old parties, which all wise men have for years been attempting to charm down, are again to be let loose upon each other ; and this With a view to restore tranquillity to the country. The English Yeomanry also, which *is suppressed by acclamation two years ago, is again to be called into activity. This is progressing crab-like.
Lord CHANDOS, on Monday, brought forward a motion for a, censure on Ministers, in the shape of a resolution on the sugar- duties. It is supposed, that had he pushed it *to a division, he must have ousted the Ministry.* The Marquis, who is what is called a straightforward man—that is, a man who follows his nose, and never sees farther than the point *of it—was probably uncon- scious of what he was about. On the consequences of his motion being stated by Sir 'JAMES GRAHAM, and pressed upon him by Sir • RoaaaT psar,, he it length consented' to withdraw it. The discussion of .the' Navy Estimates, which took place last night, gave occasion hi a singular expose Of the wantonness of ir- responsibility with which the Money Voted by Parlianient has been squandered to purposes which Parliament neither knew of nor had ever contemplated. 'None but a Reforming Ministry could have made this:expose : 'we never heard the abuse hinted at before, notwithstanding all the changeswe have had of late years. Lord BliO-UGHAM; OD Tuesday, introduced his great measure of Chancery Reform, in one of those splendid 'efforts Of genius- that he occasionally ,exhibits, *here fact and argument and humour and fancy are so find), blended,' that it Would be difficult to say whether the utiii or the duke -were Most 'cOitSpieuous. The- Reforms proposed by ,the-Chancellor, 'though they do not reach all the ramifications of evil which Prevail In his Court, are sufficiently unflinching 4o convince us that he will not fail to overeOlite the whole mass tot them. He his hewn' down. the great 1orest4reeS,–,,h0 has cleared the ground for planting future modi- fications and improvements. He has wisely, and with a giant's arm, grappled with the greater evils ; the lesser, though more numerous, and more cunning than strong, he may conquer one after another.
On Monday, the Bishop of Loproore introduced a bill which, though 'little noticed, is not without interest ; it goes to vest in the Church-building Commissioners the power of granting to per- sons building and endowing new churches, the perpetual right of nominating the clergymen. This right has hitherto belonged to the Bishop of the diocese ; and, in consequence, no new churches have been built, except with Government money ; and in many eases, it is alleged, these have been erected, by a national tax, only to impose a local tax without necessity and without utility. Had this bill been passed twenty years ago, the public might have saved a couple of millions of pounds ana a world of vexation. The boundaries of Greece were, on the same day, the subject of a conversation between Lords GREY and ABERDEEN. Some com- munications, -it appears, have passed on the subject, between the Greeks and the -Mediators, but no new negotiations have been entered on. The enlargement of the Greek boundaries is impera- tively called for, and will take place, as these things ordinarily do, as soon as the Greeks have the power to enforce their wishes.
And Lord SrnaNdrono brought forward his motion on the Portuguese treaty ; in which he was supported by Lord
LENBOROUGH. These gentlemen received a caustic reply from the Chancellor and the Premier. The Duke of WELLINGTON took part in the verbal discussion of the articles of the treaty of, 1810. The Duke is better acquainted with cutting knots than untying them. The question seems to lie in a nut-shell. Their Lordships discussed it three hours, and came to no decision.
:Lord Howicx, on Tuesday, brought in his Emigration Bill. Mr. WILMOT HORTON is no longer in Parliament, but he has left a skirt of his mantle behind him, which has unfortunately dropped on the young and noble Secretary—he must get rid of it. Sir JAMES ,GRAHAM last week gave great offence to the Mem- ber for Clare, by applying the term " demagogue " to the Irish Agitators. A kind of explanation was given at the moment ; but - this did not suffice. A pointed denial of its being applied to the Member for Clare was insisted on ; and on Monday, Sir JAMES, in his plate, gave the denial required. I -free ludkra in Feria dueunt. The foolish affair will be puffed all over Ireland, as a victory obtained by the great O'Goamax IVIanoN over the English Baronet. We do not pretend to much skill in these matters, but it strikes us that Sir JAMES GRAHAM having denied that he meant to .apply the obnoxious epithet to the Member for Clam, did all that the code of honour required. An apology ought to be made to those who heard the insult, but not a denial of offence. In the denial, Mr. 0*Gonmaiv MAHON had all that he could possibly require, or that he had a right to ask. • .A formal account of this childish business has been published , by Lord ALTHORP and Major MACNAMARA in the newspapers ! The Duke of-WsmaxGrox's affair at Battersea has .turned awry the regular train of Cabinet ideas. The proper way for a Minister , of.State to answer the applications of gentlemen who seek to give weight to their logic by other lead than their own, would be to consign them and their challenges to, the care of Sir RICHARD BIRNIE. If Sir JAMES GRAHAM did not like that plan, in which he would have been supported by the approbation of every sensible* man in England, he should have gone out and been shot, as a gen- tleman Ought to be, without any more bother about it. In giving . his compelled explanation in the House, Sir JAMES said that he did mean to apply the epithet to O'CONNELL !—which, on reflec- tion, he regretted, as Mr. O'Comniti.. was no duellist, and was, moreover, under the ban of the Government.
Parliament did not meet on Thursday, because of the birth-day and drawing-room. The House of Commons sits' to-day, but merely for the' purpose of receiving petitions on the great question of Tuesday next. .
I. NAVY ESTIMATES. In the Committee of Supply, last night, Sir JAMES GRAHAM .moved, " that 1,081,600/. be granted for the wages of 32,000 men for 13 lunar months, from the 1st January; 1831; at the rate of 2/. 12s. per annum." Sir James stated, that in • making this motion, he had to inform the House,. th; . 7 of great extent in the department of the naval service h completed, and paid for, without the knowledge( Parliament, or without the subject's once being br notice of the House of Commons.
. These works Were paid for Out of the 'surplus upon o were greater than was needed for the purposes for granted them. A. work at Weevel, near Portsmouth, menced and 'completed, and paid for by the Victualh out any vote from Parliament. Indeed, the subject tioned in the House but once, and that incidentally, w the year before, the Member for Portsmouth, seeing great in his neighbourhood, asked a question respecting them, and he was in formed, in reply, that the proceeds arising from the sale of some public buildings in Portsmouth would defray the expense. The House would probably feel surprised that the expense, sanctioned by DO vote of theirs, was 155,534/. Another work of the Victualling Board was of greater extent and more expensive. He alluded to the works at Cremin. This case differed from the others, because it was brought Under the estimates of 1826. But the vote then for the works was only 4,0001., while, since 1825, 229,441/. had been expended. This he con- sidered as excessive, the works having been originally contemplated when we were at war, and had one hundred sail of the line at sea. Another work, begun, carried on, and finished, without the sanction or knowledge of the House of Commons, was one in the Isle of Ascension— in a foreign colony ; and although it was of no great amount, yet, as involving the sarne vicious principle, he considered it worthy of attention. The expense was under 10,000/. ; and it was, as in other cases, provided for by balances unaccounted for in Parliament. Hitherto he had spoken only of the Victualling Board, but the practice was not peculiar to this Board; it extended to the Navy Board. For the works going on up to that year, there had been voted 181,465/. Now the House would hardly be prepared to hear, that for these works there was paid 325,908/. The works were the Basin and Wall at Woolwich. Nor was this system peculiar to the Victualling and Navy Boards. Since the year 1829, 7908/. had been expended at Leith, not one shilling of which was voted by Parliament. The bargain was made with the Corporation of Leith by Act of Parlia- ment. It was an improvident bargain on the part of the Corpora- tion of Leith, but still he had felt it his duty on behalf of the inha- bitants to press for its completion. He was not prepared, however, to agree to the propriety of money being spent without the consent and vote of Parliament. Another fact which he had to lay before the House was, that money had been expended for ship-building at Bombay, although no sum had been charged in the Estimates under this head by the late Go- vernment. A sum of upwards of 50,0001. was required for a seventy- four, which was lately built at Bombay, of which 26,240/. had been paid by the late Government, and yet no credit was taken for it in the accounts of last year. Another fsct of yet greater importance was, that since 1820, there never has been less than 1,500 men (and in one year there 'Were 3,000) annually paid for more than Parliament had voted. Since 1820, the sum actually paid for wages exceeded the sum voted by 1,243,000/. From what had the deficiency in the payment of wages been made good ? This question opened the view he took of the subject, and which constituted its real danger. To pay this increased number of men, a charge was made under the head of timber and materials for the supply of our arsenals. The sum voted during the last four years for this supply was 3,705,000/. The sum actually expended was 2,675,000/. leaving in four years a balance, applicable and applied to other purposes, of 1,030,000/. In like manner, under the head of Army Provisions for the last four years, 2,700,000/. had been voted, while only 1,895,000/. was ex- pended; leaving on the whole a balance of 805,000/.; and leaving a con- stant annual surplus of 80,000/.
Sir James had thought it his duty to supply the means of know- ing what the expenditure was ; for that purpose he had prepared a balance-sheet. The charges of the Victualling and Navy Boards bad been most carefully separated, that the accounts of each might be easily examined. During the last four years, sums had been voted for timber and materials which had been applied to other purposes. He had discovered the want of these materials, and had thought it of paramount importance that the arsenals of the dockyards should be replenished, and steam-engines purchased to prepare steam-boats of war. There was an apparent increase of 3,000 to the number of men, but the House should not suppose the augmentation to be to that extent. On his accession to office, lie found that there were 21,900 Seamen, and 9,500 Marines (500 of these being supernumeraries), though the vote last year was 20,000 Seamen and 9,0001Marines. He now asked for 22,000 Seamen and 10,000 Marines, for the express purpose of not keep- ing a greater number of men than Parliament had authorized. The increased estimate, as it stood last year, was 5,595,0001.; he now asked for 5,852,000/.
The estimate last year was 29,000 men, the number really employed was greater. He now plainly asked for 32,000, and that gave an apparent in- crease of 101,000/. The increased sum for building-materials and for steam-engines was 130,0001.; for works in the yard, 24,000/. The whole of the expenditure for the present year was thus frankly avowed ; where- as, during the last year, several of the items of expense were studiously suppressed. (Hear, hear!) Yet, notwithstanding all the objects of expense were thus avowed, the estimate would be found to be 114,4561. less for the present than for the last year. He would state the manner in which this saving was effected. He candidly avowed that he did not think this a moment at which he could ask for a diminution of the force of the coun- try. (Cheers.) On the contrary, he thought it his duty to state, that that force must be maintained on the same footing as during the last year, and that the sum on account of the dock-yard should be greater. He had, however, reduced the offices of ten Commissioners of the Navy, at salaries of from 1,0001. to 1,500/. a year ; two Commissioners of the Victualling Board, at 1,000/. a year; one Draughtsman of the Navy Board, at a salary of 3501.; and two clerks at from 300/. to 500/. a year. The Treasurer of the Navy had no salary. It was proposed to abolish the Paymaster of the Marines, and to transfer his duties to several other officers. He had reduced fifty-six officers in the dockyards, charged at 22,305/. a year. But from that saving there ought to be deducted 7,5301. for superannuation ;which, however, still left a clear saving of 16,6241. a year. He had also reduced eighteen other offices, held by persons who were not entitled to pen- sions, to the amount of 3,050/. per annum. The whole of the offices, therefore, that had been reduced, amounted to 27,235/. Where he thought that an office was superfluous and unnecessary, regardless of superan- mations, he had abolished it. In other cases, however, an useless office was & needless incumbrance, while a superannuation was a life charge, Mid time was in favour of the public. He had also carried into effect smother alteration, contemplated by his predecessor. A large number of .public serviints received salaries instead of daily wages. He had put 114 Of these persons upon daily wages, and the benefit of the superan- =ration would revert to them on their retirement.
Sir GiORGB CLERK defended the application of the funds voted for the different items of the naval service, to any purposes con- nected with it. The practice had always existed. He contended, that the monies had been properly applied to works of real neces- sity. - Sir George Clerk having commented upon the reduction of the subordinate officers, whilst Sir James Graham had left his own salary of 5,000/. untouched, proceeded to show that the real increase of the estimates of the present year was 560,000/.; 280,0001. the present addition, and 280,000/. left by the late Ministry.
Sir JAMES GRAHAM replied to Sir George Clerk's attack upon himself. The subject of the salaries of officers of the Government who were Members of Parliament, was under the consideration of a Committee of the House. On that ground only had he con- sented to fill the situation he held. In allusion to a charge which Sir George Clerk had made, that he had appointed his own Secre- tary to an office, in preference to others, Sir James stated, that the gentleman had been recommended to him, when he came into office, as highly qualified ; hut finding his duties in another situa- tion incompatible, that gentleman had ceased to be his Secretary.
' Ah, Sir," said Sir James, " I have had to do with other subjects very different from that, since I came into office." (Hear, hear !) An insinua- tion had been made respecting jobs, in the case of the works at Leith. Now what was the fact ? He found that there had been a contract entered into with the public, the conditions of which had not been fulfilled, and the right honourable baronet opposite had opposed their fulfilment. But he (Sir James Graham) had called on the contractors to make good their bargain ; and one of them, an honourable gentleman opposite, acknow- ledged the contract, and agreed that it should he fulfilled, and had kept his word. An outlay had been made upon those works by the Navy Board, who advanced 8,9001. for them. Now, he would say, that the con- sent of the House ought to have been obtained for that outlay. But the right honourable baronet opposite considered the sum expended upon the African squadron a wise and provident grant. Was it wise, or provident, or constitutional, to expend 10,000/. of the public money in that way without the consent of the House? If, indeed, it had been necessary to make the outlay at a time when Parliament was not sitting the Minister ought to take the first opportunity of explaining it to the aouse. But in that case no such thing had been done ; and the matter was now, for the first time, brought before the House by him. With respect to Cremin, the sum voted by Parliament was 74,0001.—the sum expended was 220,000/. He had before him a document which contained an account of the sums voted by that House for the public works at Weevel, and also of the sums expended. In 1827, the sum voted was 1,430/.—the sum ex- pended was 2,592/.
In1182298 the sum voted, nil—expended £14,035 8 nil . . . . 53,000 1830 . . . . . nil . . . . 85,000 (Laughter .) Now it might be a very prudent arrangement to remove those premises at all that cost, but surely it ought not to have been done without the consent of Parliament.
Sir James added, he was aware of the difficulties with which he had to contend.
He had given the right honourable baronet an advantage. The Esti- mate had not been prepared in the most plausible manner. It did not profess to he excessively clear and satisfactory. But he trusted that the House would bear with it for this year, and call upon him to explain each particular as he proceeded. In the next year, the balance-sheet should be prepared in such a manner as to exhibit every sum expended in the present year clearly accounted for. If he were to be dismissed from office to-morrow, he would retire with the conviction that he had applied an effectual remedy to a real grievance. (Cheers.) Mr. POULETT THOMSON and Mr. FRANKLAND LEWIS held some conversation on the policy of uniting the two offices of the Treasurership of the Navy with another office. Mr. HUME regretted this interlude ; it was a waste of time, by which matters of greater importance were lost sight of. He en- treated the serious attention of the House to the exposé which had been given by Sir James Graham, of the system of deception and mystification which had hitherto prevailed in the public ac- counts, by means of which, sums of money were applied to pur- poses which Parliament had not authorized, and works which the House had appointed to be done were not accomplished. Sir James Graham would not do his duty, if he did not immediately institute an inquiry into these practices. Such an inquiry should be di- rected to discover where the practices originated, how they had proceeded, and who were the real authors. In all his experience, he had never known of such practices. During three successive years he had moved for the Report of the Commissioners of Dockyards, and not one of them afforded the slightest clue.
Occasional circumstances might arise, in which Government would feel themselves imperatively called upon to deviate from the strict rule. , But when such circumstances arose, Government should come down to that House, acknowledge what they had done, explain, and, if possible, vindicate their conduct. After what had occurred, no more confidence could be placed in public men. There was not a single individual con- cerned who ought not to be incapacitated from ever again being engaged in the public service.
Mr. Hume wanted words to express the indignation he felt at the total disregard of oaths which had been manifested in this matter. He had no specific amendment to move, but nothing ap- peared to him more absurd and unnecessary than the expense- which this country incurred every year to create a greater body' of ships than France or any state in Europe had. Sir BYAM MARTIN rejoiced that a proposition was before the- House for voting the real number of men. He thought that to make the sums voted effective to the service, the application of them should be left to the Executive. Sir HENRY PARNELL said, it might be convenient to leave the application of the votes to the Executive, but it was a very uncon- stitutional measure. Every vote should be made applicable to the general balance-sheet of the state. This was the case with respect to the French navy—every item of ex- penditure having reference to an article in the Budget under which it was voted; and, in fact, the officer could not pay the amount, unless he re- ceived an order which recited the chapter and section ia pursuance of which the order wss made.
Hitherto we had been going on in a system of' entire deception ..--the Muse thought they were voting for one thing, and it turned out they were voting for another. Sir Henry Parnell as disap- pointed by the Navy Estimates ; and thought that, with reference to the naval force of other countries, there was room for great re- duction.
Mr. HUNT thanked Sir James Graham for his exeose. He always suspected they were going on under a bad system, in these matters; and he was now satisfied of it. Mr. Hunt wished to know in what manner timber was provided ? All other stores were provided by public contract, but he was informed timber was not.
Mr. HUME objected to Naval Officers holding the situations of lieutenant-Generals and Colonels of Marines. They were sine- cure places ; if they were to be kept up, they ought to be given to Marine Officers.
Sir JAMES GRAHAM said, there were cogent reasons for retain- ing the general officers of Marines, and bestowing those appoint- ments on Naval men.
A conversation then arose respecting the appointment of Sir James Cockburn, as Inspector-General of Marines. Sir JAMES GRAHAM and Lord ALTHORP defended the arrangement on the score of economy, and the fitness of Sir James for business ; Mr. HUME had no objection to the man : he objected to the office. It was an insult to the Marines ; which sentiment Lord Hoeiran echoed.
2. ARMY ESTIMATES. On the House going into .a Committee of Supply on Monday, Mr. Wyenve proceeded to state the Army Estimates. The audition to the army was, he contended—looking to the state of England and of Ireland—not only justified, but imperatively called for. He expressed at the same time a confi- dent hope, that before the end of the year, the peace and quiet of the country might be solar restored as to permit of a diminution of the forces now enrolled. The additions had been made by a new levy, rather than from the Veteran Battalions, because the former were universally held to constitute a more efficient corps. The amount of the military force last year was 81,164 men ; the num- ber for the present year would be 88,844, being an addition of 7,680; by which addition the several regiments lad been restored to their full peace establishment. [The whole of the reports complain of the difficulty of hearing and following Mr. Wynne's statements.] Colonel DAVIES opposed the vote. The number of military in 1821 was only 81,106 ; and yet the estimates of that year were denounced as the most abominable that ever were heard of. In 1822, the military force was reduced to 71,500; and now, eight years after, he had 16,500 men more, [by Mr. 'Wynne's statement, 17,344] ; and an additional charge of 536,0001. Colonel Davies went on to enumerate several items of charge connected with the Army service, in which great reductions might be effected. Among these were—Staff, commissioned and non-commissioned officers, 11,0001.; Recruiting, 106,3421.; Depeit service, 450,000/. In respect of the system of recruiting, every man raised for Go- vernment cost at least 55/. The Colonies were one entire job. The Governor of Lower Canada had nine or ten thousand a year; the Governor of Ceylon ten thousand, and emoluments which swelled his income to sixteen thousand. The French army of 250,000 men, under the Bourbons, cost only 5,000,0001.; ours of 90,000 cost 6,000,000/. deducting the Dead Weight. In Prussia, there was an army of 180,000, arid the whole revenues of the king- dom did not exceed eight millions. Colonel Davies moved, as an amendment, that the estimates should be voted to the 1st of April next, instead of the 1st of January. Mr. BEAU1VIONT thought Colonel Davies might perceive a suffi- cient reason for the augmentation of the military force of the country without rising from his seat. (This allusion was to Mr. O'Connell.) Mr. O'CONNELL observed, that Mr. Beaumont had shown in his speech his perfect knowledge of the state of England, and his perfect knowledge of the state of Ireland.
He had condescended to bestow upon him (Mr. O'Connell) the meed of his disapprobation. He thanked him for it ; he invited him to continue it ; from the specimen of judgment and of intellect he had displayed, he hoped he would never confer upon him any portion of his applause. (Laughter.) The honourable member said that the state of Ireland and the state of England required an augmentation of the army; that the state of France and the state of Europe required an augmentation of the army ; and this augmentation was to be 7,000 men. (A laugh.) Lord ALTHORP thought the increase of the troops so evidently called for, as not to require or admit of argument. To jcom- mittees, in such cases, he had always been disinclined ; he did not consider them as at all efficient tribunals. The voting of the Estimates for a short time he would oppose, for he could see no advantage to be derived from it. The calling into active service of men who were already pensioners, was the cheapest plan to begin with ; but as the service of a year might in many cases give a claim to augmented pensions, it would be the dearest in the long- run.
Sir HENRY HARDINGE gave credit to the Government for en- couraging so constitutional a corps as the yeomanry. Sir Henry said, he could perceive but one reduction, and that one objection- able—namely, the Treasurer of the Military Asylum and Military College, The office was useful, well-performed, and cost only 700/..a year, Mr. STANLEY, in noticing the vote of 50,0001: for clothing to the Irish, Yeomanly, remarked, that it was absolutely necessaly—that corps had not had any clothing for nearly twelve years. He writ aware of the bitterness which the reestablishment of the Irish yeomanry might occasion ; but the Ministers had nothing but a choice of evils. They were compelled to have recourse to the Yeomanry, to preserve the country from rebellion. Mr. O'CONNELL strongly objected to the Irish Yeomanry : they were inefficient for good, but they had ever been strong for mis- chief.
But there sat the right honourable gentleman, an apprentice statesman, ignorant alike of the wants of the people and the duties of his office, and knew not of the numbers which these mischievous men had annually put to death in brawls at fairs and patterns, where they quarrelled with Catholics for the mere purpose of having recourse to their weapons, which were always concealed within a convenient distance of the scene of strife, and aimed at the defenceless peasants in the moment when least expected. If an increase of force were necessary—and he would not negative the assertion-:-let an addition be made to the King's troops, who had never exhibited the spirit of party, but, on the contrary, were popu- lar, and well conducted. But he would conjure the noble Chancellor of the Exchequer not to be led away by the misrepresentations of those who visited Ireland for an hour, and Were in absolute ignorance of the real condition of the people. In the counties that were most Catholic, religious feuds had, heretofore, least prevailed; but the measure now pro- posed would inevitably revive the worst possible state of feeling all over the country.
Mr. STANLEY thought that Mr. O'Connell's present observa- tions, expressive as they were of the sentiments of a large portion of the Irish population, would fully justify Ministers in coming forward to demand a considerable addition to the military farce.
Mr. Stanley having adverted to the language of Mr. O'Connell out of the House—
Mr. O'CONNELL—" I certainly did designate the right honourable gen- tleman by the epithet of a shave beggar.'"
Mr. STANLEY said
He had been already aware of this specimen of courtesy by report, but he thanked the honourable gentleman for repeating the phrase in that House, since it so fully showed the character and habits of the audience to whom he addressed the illustration. (Cheers.) With respect to the Yeomanry, how iustly soever Government might depend upon their ser- vices, they would rather trust to " the returning good sense of the peo- ple," in the expression of opinion which had lately emanated from the wealth, respectability, and intelligence—from all that was worth having in Ireland—as their most effectual resource against the mischievous efforts and unprincipled machinations of artful but defeated agitators. (Cheers.)
Mr. HUME regretted, that all the saving on the Estimates was a poor 300/., while the increase was 500,0001.; but he declined to divide against the Ministers, as he trusted they themselves would see reason for retracing their steps. Lord PALMERSTON and MT. LITTLETON defended the increase proposed by the Secretary at War. Mr. HUNT said he had not heard one word during the debate to convince him of its necessity. "If we are in such a dreadful state at home as to require 88,000 men to keep the people of England in quiet subjection, what is the cause which has produced such an effect? Are the people of England so altered that the Government dares not trust them with arms ? The people of England are not altered ; but such alterations have been made in their laws, their habits, and their institutions by the bad laws of this House, that the Government dares not put arms into their hands. (Cries of" Na, no I" anti" hear ! ") Place arms in their hands, and you will have, to a certainty, Reform in three months." (No !) Mr. HUNT moved, by way of amendment, that the military force be reduced to 71,000.
Mr. HUNT divided the House on this amendment ; when there appeared—for it, Mr. Hunt himself, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. O'Gorman Mahon, Mr. Buller, Mr. Hume, Mr. Warburton, Mr. J. Wood ; the rest of the House, 250 in number, voted against it.
3. EMIGRATION. Lord Howicre, on Tuesday, introduced his Bill for facilitating settlements in his Majesty's Foreign Possessions. His object was to enable the labouring poor to find that employ- ment in the Colonies which they could not procure in the Mother Country. A great deficiency of employment existed in proportion to the numerical amount of the labouring population. While in Great Britain and Ireland wages were at the lowest possible rate. a labouring man in the Australian Colonies could earn 5s. a day; and an useful mechanic, such as a wheelwright, was paid no less than 15s. a day. In Canada, the rate was not so high ; but even there, a farmer's servant received 3s. 9d. a day in ordinary times, and 6s. 9d. during the harvest. The bill he proposed provided for the appointment of Commissioners to establish order and regu- larity among persons about to emigrate, and to further their pro- gress to the place of destination. It enabled them to procure their own subsistence on their arrival. It was proposed that parishes should bear the expense, and that two-thirds of the rate-payers should empower the overseers to contract with the Commissioners, to enable the poor to emigrate ; and that the poor-rates might be mortgaged, to raise money for the purpose, to be repaid within ten years. The provisions of the bill, unfortunately, could not extend to Ireland, for in that countrythere were no poor-rates. He thought, however, that a clause might be introduced to enable parties there to raise money upon the same principle as in England, though not of a parochial character, As the success of the individuals emigrating would depend upon their own perseverance and indus- try, he proposed that they should forfeit all right to parochial relief in the event of their return to England. There were 23,000,000 acres of land in North America on which emigrants might be located. The expense of sending out and establishing a family consisting of a man and his wife, with two children, was 661. The expense of maintaining them in England would be 251. a year; So that, with less, than three years' purchase, parishes might be relieved. Means were provided, without the expense of forming establishments on the Crown Lands, by which each individual anight at once obtain employment, and by his own exertions ulti- mately from a labourer become a landowner. The Commissioners might employ the parties on public works. He should fix the wages of each labourer at 2s. 6d. a day. There were roads to be made in New Brunswick ; the expense of completing them would 1,e 67,5001., and they would afford employment to one thousand • labourers and their families for a year. In all probability, the parishes would only have to pay the mere expense of the passage of their poor. The demand for labour was higher in the Australian Cob- flies than in Canada. Many persons in Australia had expressed their readiness to pay part of the expense of carrying out emi- grants, iftheir services were secured to them for a stipulated time.
II is Lordship concluded with an indiscriminate panegyric on the labonrs of Mr. Wilmot Horton, and the National Colonization Society, now dead. Sir GEORGE MURRAY aporoved of the objects of the bill, but he disapproved of the appointment of Commissioners. When he was at the head of the Colonial Department, he had employed an agent in Canada to superintend and report .arrangements there ; and he should have completed the measure by supplying agents at various ports in this country, to direct the embarkation of the eniigrants. Such agents he had intended to select from the half- pay officers in the Navy ; and their salaries would have been the . only expense.
Mr. TENNANT admitted the praise which was due to Mr. Wilmot Ilcrton, for his perseverance in agitating the important measure of emigration, despite of its unpalatableness,—but for nothing more —his own views of the subject were altogether different. He • Mated several objections to Lord Howick's bill, and in particular he objected to its scheme of new and injurious taxation. He had a theory of Colonization, with which he would not on this occasion trouble the House ; but on a future day, he should feel it his duty to call their attention to this important topic, which he was per- • .suaded would be better discussed in Committee.
Lord ALTHORP, in reply to Sir George Murray, stated, that the Commissioners to be appointed would not be paid by the public. his Lordship thought the present administration of the poor-laws . could not be improved, unless the pressure upon the poor-rates was removed. When parishes should be enabled to act on the , original principles of the poor-laws, a law might he introduced to prevent the abuses which had been the source of so much mis- chief of late years. Mr. SADLER said, no terms could express sufficiently the strong . objections which he felt to the measure. It would introduce a new species of national debt into every parish in England. He entered at large into his own peculiar notions of the population question, as expounded in his books ; and asserted, that if there were 23,000,000 acres of land in Canada to he cultivated, there were 30,000,000 in England, where the poor could be more beneficially employed.
Mr. F. BARING had never heard a question treated so unfairly. Of all wild schemes, the wildest and worst was to force into culti- vation those lands which would not yield sufficient to pay even the charges of cultivation.
Mr. WARBURTON admitted that a regular system of colonization would be beneficial both to the colony and the emigrant ; but the question was, whether the Wealth, power, and happiness of the parent country would be secured by it. Unless emigration were kept up at the rate of 200,000 a year, (the ratio of increase,) no 4.`frectual benefit would result.
Did any man mean to contend that this should be done every year by a forced emigration ? He thought not. Besides the expenses of the voy- -lige, the emigrants would be furnished with one or two years' subsistence: while their population at home was still increasing, they were, by lessen- ing their capital, augmenting the misery of the mother country. He thought that emigration ought to he encouraged, but he denied that it should be forced. He believed that one of the most effectual means of giving employment to labour, would be some general measure for the commutation of tithes.
Mr. BARING was of opinion, that upon the solution of this ques- tion depended, in a great measure, the happiness of this country and the welfare of its agricultural labourers. He asked, in reply to Mr. Sadler, what more convincing proof of the superabundance of labour could there be, that when our farmers had applied labour to every work in which labour could be used, they were compelled to turn labourers into the roads or into gravel-pits? Would it not be less revolting to humanity to carry out our superabundant labourers to a land where they could get employment and subsist- ence? The market for labour was glutted, and it was necessary to resort to some means to remove that glut. Mr. Sadler had assert- ed that the Canadas were unhealthy to emigrants : Mr. Baring was Well acquainted with the Canadas, and lie was of opinion that they were quite healthy, generally speaking. There were many parts of Essex worse than any of the unhealthy parts of Canada.
By affording the means to our distressed population to remove to a country where they would find proper value for their labour, they would 'confer a greater benefit upon thernthan by all the contributions to chari- table institutions for the relief of the poor. Mr. Sadler had spoken of the cultivation of waste lands at home; he would ask, where were the .30,000,000 of acres of waste land of which the honourable member had spoken ? He wished to state one fact to the House, as illustrative of the fertility of the land in Canada. Land was known in Canada to produce thirty-five bushels of wheat per acre, which for ten years had been under at crops of wheat, and where the stumps of the trees which had cleared away were still visible. . That was a refutation of the state- t with regard to the sterility- of land in Canaila. But itwas.sid, that
if. this system of emigration was a desirable thing, why should we not leave it to Itself ? The obvious answer was, that the poor people did not
know of the benefits which they would reap from emigration ; and that, even if they were aware of them, theyhad not the means of going. He knew seve- ral parishes where a superabundance of labourers bad existed, and relief
had been afforded by adopting a plan of emigration. It had been done thus —the leading persons in the parish called the people together, explained to them the benefits which would arise from the emigrationaf a certain por- tion of them, and gave them the option of going out if they liked to do so. There was no coercion used, the offer was accepted by several, and the most beneficial results followed from such lmigration. It was a curious fact, how very small an excess of labour was required in a district to produce there a great depreciation of labour in the market. In the county of Sussex, the population amounted to 233,000, and the males from the age of fifteen to fifty were 50,000. Now, if they took off the population of such places as Brighton, and the artisans in towns who were pretty well off, the male population, from the age of fifteen to fifty, employed in agriculture, did not exceei 25,000. Now the superabundance or excess of that population beyond the labour was not more than one fourth. The removal of 6250 would restore labour to its proper value there, and that demonstrated clearly the small excess required to produce a depreciation of labour. It should be recollected, too, that the county of Sussex was in the worst
state as regarded the superabundance of agricultural labour. The amount it would be necessary to remove in 'the county of Dorset, was only 4250. These were strong facts in proof of the good effects which might be expected from a well-regulated system of emigration. At all events they were bound to look at the case with calmness, and endeavour to see whether great relief might not be afforded to the country in tilt manner in which it was now proposed to afford it. Mr. SLANEY took occasion to descant upon his favourite theme of the state of the poor-laws ; and Sir EDWARD SUGDEN threat- ened that none of the money would be repaid. The scheme of the noble Lord went to impose a permanent charge upon the freehold of every man in the state, for a temporary relief to the people of his parish. • Mr. BENETT denied that there was any surplus population. Superabundance of population there was not, but a great defi- ciency of capital. The only effectual relief would be a composition of tithes.
Mr. W. WHITMORE supported the measure ; and Mr. HUNT supported Mr. Benett. Every body, said Mr. Hunt, who had spoken to-night, was a theorist, except the honourable member for Wiltshire. He contended that the good lands were not half cultivated.
Mr. HODGES, Mr. BROWNLOW, and Mr. BRISCOE having spoken, Lord Howicx replied. Leave was then given to bring in the bill.
4. CHANCERY REFORM. Lord BROUGHAM, on Tuesday, in- troduced his great plans for the reform of Chancery, in a powerful speech of nearly fbur hours. He commenced by a ludicrous apology for his predecessors. The practice of Chancery was so involved and embarrassing—there was such a luxuriousness and intertwining of boughs, such an extension of roots, that whoever entered it very speedily found himself chained to his place, and reduced to inactivity by the overpowering influences of the errors which he was desirous to remove. Lord Brougham declared, that even during his brief sojourn, he was already sensible of the liebetude which a station in that benumbing court almost naturally . produced. He felt that if he remained but a short while longer, he should in vain endeavour to shake himself free from the soil in which he wai fast rooting. He was in the condition of the nymph in the fable :
" torpor gravis alligat artus " torpor gravis alligat artus Pes modo tam velox pigris radicibus : Ora cacumen obit."
If he delayed, he would be fixed for ever—flourishing, perhaps, as the laurel did, but flourishing only as a monument of another escape from the God of Light The first proposition in his intended reforms, Lord Brougham said, was this—that in remedying such evils as those which he was about to remedy, it was better to change the machinery of the nibunals, than to alter the legal polity of the country, on which the disposition of property and right of the subject depended. This was the safer method of proceeding, and that formed its strongest recommendation. The second principle—the separation, as far as possible, of the judicial from the administrative functions of judges and officers ; which in the Court of Chancery, as at present constituted, were intimately blended. The third propo- sition went to substitute oral for written evidence ; the fourth, to provide for the independent remuneration of judges and officers, instead of their being dependent as at present on the fees of suitors. It was of the very nature of an emolument derived from fees, to generate in the judges, and still more in the subordinate officers, a desire and endeavour to multiply the steps of a process, by the length and complexity of which their means were so much affected.
Of the specific alterations which he meant to propose, the first regarded Lunatics. The present number of Chancery lunatics was four hundred; the entire expense of their maintenance 160,000/. a year; the property of lunatics placed under the keeping of the Great Seal was estimated at from six to eight millions. In the mode of keeping the lunatics, as well as in the execution of the commissions de lunatico inquirendo, great defects existed. The commissioners were commonly young banisters—unaccustomed to the examination of witnesses—paid by fees—with every induce- ment of course to prolong their sittings. There was only one in- stance where so few as two commissioners had sat. This had been discovered by Mr. Illingworth, to whom the late Chancellor had referred the investigation; and who, by the way, had dis- covered a still More curious fact,—namely, that the statute of Henry II, had, on one occasion, been determined by the Twelve in bunco. Except only in matt before them thus • determined to put an end, from the fact, that there had not been more than nine or ten ap- The next improvement in the Master's Office, was the substitu- peals from their decisions during the period that he held the seals. tion of viva voce for written examinations. He proposed that the The loss of emolument to the Lord Chancellor, from the entire Masters should sit in the evening in three courts, three in each; and separation of the Bankruptcy department, Lord Lyndhurst said, he would have their Lordships -dispense, for that pin•pose, with the had been overrated.
two that waited on them,—to hear objections to reports (he did not
mean exceptions, which brought the report before the Great Seal), to Lord Chancellor's salary was 5,000/.1; his fees in the House amounted about 5,000/. more; out of which he paid to the Vice-Chancellor 2,5001., - and to have them argued ; and he felt certain that by that process leaving a gross income of 7,5001. But besides this, there were fees on ninety-nine out of one hundred cases would be got rid of in the bankruptcies and fines and recoveries, amounting to about 70002.; making same way as, by the arrangements proposed in bankrupt cases, a total income of between 14,0001. and 15,000/. a year. Of this sum, ninety-nine of one hundred of the appeals to the Vice-Chancellor 5,000/. was derived from fees in bankruptcy cases. Half of this snm arose other matters respect- would be got rid of. There were several on Country Commissions, which it was intended to retain ; and therefore ' the Lord Chancellor's income would be reduced only to the extent of
ing the office of Master and Registrar to be attended to ; but the
remedies for these were not yet completely digested. not too highly paid with a salary of between 14,000/. and 15,000/. Judges to be no statute at all, but a mere private document. Lord at Guildhall could ha coasulted on the subjtct, I w( nty-five or Brougham proposed to settle all disputed cases in lunacy by an thirty persons, merchants of repectability and respons:bility, one issue before one of the Judges of Westminster Hall. For the pur- of whom in each case of bankruptcy should act as assignee to aaose of watching MT the lunatic's person and property; after he the Court.
had been adjudged insane, the Lord Chancellor proposed follow- The Lord Chancellor concluded by stating the reduction of ing up the plan of his predecessor—for the Merit was entirely his-- patronage and salary, and the savings to the public, which would' to constitute a distinct board, the expense of it to be defrayed out be the result of these reforms. Of patronage-70 places were of the estates of the lunatics which the board was created to super- exchanged for 10 ; or at most, if an additional 'Master of Convey- intend. ancing were allowed (an officer very much wanted), for 11. By
The next department requiring reform, was the Bankrupt de- the reduction in the Secretary of Bankrupts' Office, a saving would part/I:lent ; against the abuses of which a petition had lately been he effected of 26,000/. a year ; in the Masters Office, and others signed by no fewer than 4500 bankers and merchants of the city of connected with it, 20,000/. ' • sinecures which must remain until London. The lists of Commissioners of Bankrupts were fourteen, the falling. in of the lives of the holders, 6,000/. ; sinecures to be each list containing five Commissioners, in all seventy. Having immediately reduced (among others, the Reverend Mr. Thurlow's, described the character of the Commissioners—barristers of a of 10,000/. a year), 10,0001.; reductions in other departinents, day's standing, barristers so old as to have forgotten the year on 11,000/. a year ; in all, 73,000/. a year saved to the suitors and. which they were called—men of little practice, men of none—his the public. By these reforms also, Lord Brougham calculated t hat Lordship went on to observe on the absurdity of such men as Mr. his own income would be lessened by 8,000/. a year ; he therefore Sergeant Wilde or Mr. F. Pollock or Mr. Montagu pleading be- proposed, in order that the Great Seal might not go a begging fore one of these Bankrupt Judges, and giving the law to the among interior practitioners, not to augment the salary, but to aug- bench, instead of taking the law from it ; and on the inconvenient ment the retiring pension—which was at present no more than frequency, in consequence of the erroneous decisions of the Corn- what is allowed to the Chief Justice of the Kings Bench, an officer missioners, of appeals to the Chancellor to set that right which a who holds his place as long as he pleases, and who generally en- proper tribunal could have set right without his assistance. His joys its full emoluments for twelve or fifteen years.
not out of the pockets of the public, but out of the funds which " My Lords, would you call that man an enemy to his country who would he proposed to create in the Court of Chancery. Instead of the struggle to prevent a hostile foot from polluting its shores,—who would Commissioners whom he thus proposed to displace, Lord Brougham die in the last ditch to defend his native land from the encroachment of ' proposed to choose ten competent Judges to sit on Bankruptcy cases that enemy ? Would you call him an enemy to his country, who would alone : these ten Judges he proposed to divide into three classes, with eradicate sedition and treason, by removing the food upon which they live, one Chie fJudge to preside over the whole, who should have the same —who would root out all abuses, and all mischiefs calculated to compro- mise our security and peace? Then call him an enemy to the institutions of rank and privileges as the Chief Judges of the other courts : there his country, who, when accidental defects, alien from their nature, have would be three Senior Judges, and six Junior. The salaries clouded and incrusted those institutions, would root out the defects, would would be liberal—that of the Chief Justice being highest, and those purge away the accumulated dross, in order that the pure mineral may of the Junior Judges lowest ; the latter to succeed to the places shine and burn with a brighter flame,—then call him an enemy to his country, who is the enemy of its worst enemies—the seeds of abuse and dc. ofthe former by seniority or fitness. In ordinary cases, where cay existing in its institutions—enemies as perilous as to the safety of the there was no dispute, one Judge would decide ; where there was state are domestic traitors—enemies that put their existence in greater difficulty or dispute, three Juniors or a Senior and a Junior ; the jeopardy than do foreign invaders the existence of the nation. My Chief Judge and the three Senior Judges to constitute a Court of Lords, I am such an enemy—I am such an innovator—guilty to that Appeal from decisions in the other courts ' - and all motions for charge I am ready and proud to plead. Be it as to Parliamentary reform, new trials and rehearings to be brought the thus sitting —he it as to retrenchment, be it as to amendment of abuses,—be it as
to the remedying of defects in the .administration of justice,—with
of pure law, the Chancellor respect to any, or to all of these things, the only sentiment I can ever proposed to cut off all appeals to Chancery. If the Courts, with feel, touching the institutions of my country, is hostility to their defects." viva voce evidence and the aid of a Jury, could not get at the truth, Lord BROUGHAM presented, on Tuesday, his first bill for amend- it was not very probable that the Chancellor would. The cutting ing the law in the case of Chancery Lunatics ; the second, for off appeals in bankrupt cases would in all probability enable the amending the method of procedure in cases of Bankruptcy, was Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor to get through their proper busi- presented last night. On the latter occasion, Lord LYNDHURST ness, which at present these appeals so much interfered with. spoke at some length on the principle and tendency of the two With respect to country cases, all that the Chancellor proposed measures. He entirely concurred in the bill for the better manage- ad interim, was to purify the lists as much as possible, by impos- ment of Lunatic cases. In that of Mr. Brand, he had been anxious ing the duty of framing them on the Judges of Assize, aided by to adopt such a process as the bill recommended, but was precluded,
th`e King's Counsel. by want of precedent, from the appointment ofa single commissioner.
2,500/. He was one of those who thought that the Lord Chancellor was
Lord BROUGHAM said, until that evening he had not been aware that the bills of his predecessor contained any regulation respect- ing fees. He had opposed one part of one of the bills, but really
4.a not know that the other touchedon fees at all. The question of the mode of taking evidence came to this. By the plan that he
proposed, it was true, the Judge who was ultimately to decide would not any more than at present see the witnesses ; but Master who examined would see them. Under the present plan,
neither judge nor examiner saw them. A jury would be the best mode in all cases where evidence was required; and though to that they could not come in the first instance, they were bound to make the nearest approach to it they could. In their approval of the present mode of taking evidence, he admitted that the Com- mission had been unanimous in the report ; but many or at least some of them had changed their views since, for among those who examined and approved his plans were gentlemen who had served on the Commission. Lord Brougham said he was not aware that the observations of Lord Eldon had been spe- cially directed against the Country Commissions, nor that so wholesale a condemnation was peculiarly applicable to them : in the Country Commissions there were many men of the greatest knowledge and experience in the law ; while it was notorious that in the Metropolitan Commissions there were many men who had neither knowledge nor experience. With respect to the emolu- ments of Chancellor, Lord Brougham said he knew little—he had as yet received none of them. He had paid the Vice-Chancellor his salary, although he did not know, until the report of the Commons Committee on Salaries, whether it would be allowed to him. He was Chancellor in possession, it was true—perhaps Lord Lyndhurst was Chancellor in reversion The account he had given of Bankrupt fees was not his own ; he had received it from a very accurate person, and one well skilled in these matters—the Secretary of Bankrupts—who described the fees as amounting to 7,000/. or 8,000/. He Most willingly -admitted, as he had always done, the great advantages he had received from his predecessor's labours ; nor could he forget that many very excellent persons had preceded Lord Lyndhurst in the same field, among whom he was bound to single out among the departed the great Sir Samuel Romilly, and among those who had vigorously followed Sir Samuels footsteps, Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor and the Queen's Attorney-General. To these, among others, much of the praise arising from any reform in the Court of Chancery was un- doubtedly due.
6. THE LORD CHANCELLOR AND THE COMMISSIONERS OF LUNATICS. In the Court of Chancery, on the 17th instant, the
Lord Chancellor was pleased to advert to a letter whieh he had received from the Metropolitan Commissioners of Lunatics, several of whom were members of Parliement and gentlemen of the bar,
animadverting, not on his Lordships judgment, but on a report of it which had appeared in the Morning Herald and Times news- papers. The Lord Chancellor, on the occasion, said he would not
scruple, as had been done in a similar case of contempt, by Lord Holt and Mr. Justice Willis, to use the power of the Great Seal
against the offenders, were the offence to be repeated' and he in- timated his intention of consulting with the other Judges respect- ing- the course he should pursue in the present instance. In the Hi-muse of Commons on Wednesday, on the introduction, by Mr.
ROBERT GORDON, of a Bill to consolidate the Acts relating to In- sane Persons, Lord GRANVILLE SOMERSET, one of the Commis- sioners, commented on the threat of his Lordship. Lord Somerset
said, that conceiving the reports in the Times and Herald to be more or less correct, and perceiving from them in the caseln question that the Lord Chancellor evidently laboured under a mis- conception, the Commissioners, neither meaning nor intending dis. respect to his Lordship. addressed to him the letter complained of, with a view to remove the misconception. The letter his Lord- ship read. It commences thus— "My Lord—The report, such as it appeared in the Times and Morning Herald papers of Tuesday last, of the case of Mr. Houston, a lunatic, .gives us reason to fear that from a misapprehension of the way in which the Metropolitan Commissioners in Lunacy had acted with regard to that individual, your Lordship adopted and expressed an erroneous opinion of our disposition, and our conduct in reference to this as well as to other cases of persons confined under commissions of lunacy."
The Commissioners then go on to vindicate themselves from - the charge of interference in the case of Houston, and in the fol- lowing terms- " Tre trust your Lordship will publicly relieve us from the charge of pre- tuinption and undue interference with the authority of the Crown, which your Lordship is reported to have preferred against us. For we beg to ob- serve, in conclusion, that in the performance of an irksome duty, we are not conscious of ever havins, evinced any disposition to exceed the au- thority conferred on us by the statute under which we act, and we doubt not that your Lordship will feel that the observations which have been at- tributed to your Lordship are calculated to deprive the Commission of that public estimation which is essential to the proper discharge of its official duties."
In reference to Lord Brougham's remark on the Commissioners, .taking for granted the accuracy of the newspaper reports, Lord Somerset said, that if the Chancellor had any fault to find with the report, he ought to have called the reporters to the bar, and reproved them. (Laughter.) If he had reporters in his Court, whom he could not trust, why did he not get rid of them? The SOLICITOR-GENERAL said, it was impossible that the Lord -Chancellor could be accountable for newspaper reports. Yet the Commissioners proceeded on newspaper reports to arraign the Chancellor's conduct. They said they had reason to believe them correct ; but he would put it the House, Whetheiany One, higli or humble, had a right, on such evidence, whatever might bells belief of its correctness, to expostulate with the highest judge id the kingdom, after jedgment delivered, and call on him to make; as it were, the amende honorable, as in this case the- Cornmi. sioners had done.
The Commissioners called upon the Judge to set them right before the public. How was he to do so ? He must either publicly retract in court the observations imputed to him, or he must go to the press for the, purpose. Would that be a course of proceeding consistent with the ad- ministration of justice in this country ? How was a judge to go on, if he should have an appeal against his judgment, not only in the way in which the law already allowed it to be made, but an appeal out of doors founded upon an unauthorized report in a newspaper ? However respectable the Metropolitan Lunatic Commissioners were, the Solicitor-General did not think that the act of Parliament brought them into such contact with the Great Seal, that they had any right to dictate to the Great Seal the course which it ought to follow. The Lord Chancellor was fully justified in all he said of the Secre- tary of the Commissioners. What were the words of that person's letter ? It commenced with " I have been instructed by Lord Granville Somerset ;" and went on to say, " in the mean time, I 'have to acquaint you that you are authorized to detain Mr. Hous- ton until you have further directions from the Lord Chancellor." Here was an individual doing, in the name of the Commissioners, what was competent to none but the Lord Chancellor himself. Mr. Ross denied that the letter was written subsequent to judgment —it was written on Wednesday, and judgment was not given until Friday. The reports in the newspapers had been cor- roborated by a gentleman who heard the observations reported. The ATTORNEY-GENERAL thought such letters went clearly to interfere with- the administration of justice.
The Lord Chancellor did right officially to inform those who called upon him to correct reports in the newspapers respecting what he said in his court, that they were committing a breach,of propriety, and laying themselves open to censure or correction.
6. THE METHUEN TREATY. Lord STRAN,1FORD'S motion re- specting Portugal, on Monday, was ostensibly 'for the production of the treaty of 1810, bat the re:al object was the discussion of the wine equalization duty. The Methuen teeaty, his Lordship ob- served, was first assailed at the close of that splendid career of victories which distinguished our arms under Marlborough. By the Methuen treaty, a preference was given to the wine- of Portu- gal above those of France; Portugal giving a corresponding preference
to our woollens. It was the barbarous principle of the time of Queen Anne, that if the people of this country cot the wines and goods of France cheap, no matter how much our manufacturing interests suffered as the price of that cheapness.
This barbarous principle prevailed among the rulers only—it did not infect the people, as it does now.. The people took the alarm, and the great grandfather of Lord King, who now took so active a part in bringing forward the peccadillos of the Church' as also Lord Halifax, took a very prominent pert in support of the Methucn treaty. The Ministerial plan of tint day was supported by the argument that the wines of France were much more gratifying to the palates of Englishmen. The plan' however, fell to the ground; and, as an able defender of the Metlaum treaty lied said, the employment of the loom of Enniand, and the encouragement of her domestic industry, would be found immuch more advantageous to her than any benefit she could derive by consuming the wines of France at a cheap rate. It was then very properly contended, that it was not the policy of this country to encourage the trade of a power like Franc:a when opposed to our own. The principle upon which we went was that of national reciprocity ; but how could we expect that that principle would be conceded to us by France ? And if the policy of Bourbon France was not to encourage our trade, it was still less that of France in her present state, when she might feel it necessary to conciliate her numerous artisans by placing every re- striction upon the manufactures of England. The next attack made upon the treats, was in 1787, by Mr. Pitt. It was strenuously supported by Mr. Vox, but without success. The treaty was suspended, but the supervening war restored it to its honours ; and the wines and woollens of Portugal and England continued to be exchanged as before.
The next attempted modification of the Methuen treaty was that introduced by Mr. Canning, in 1810. The treaty of that year set forth-
" That the two high contracting parties do reserve to themselves the right of revising and altering the said treaty, after the term of fifteen years ; and that any stipulation contained in it which appeared to affect injuriously either of time high contracting parties, should be considered as suspended in its operation, until the question which it involved was de- cided upon, after duenotice having been given by the other contracting party as to his intention."
Lord Strangford contended, that Ministers had not duly ob- served these stipulations—that they had neglected to give pro- per notice of the course they meant to pursue.
The vast amount of capital involved in this trade ought to have induced Ministers to proceed cautiously: instead of that, the course which they had pursued had thrown the trade into confusion, and threatened with ruin those who were concerned in it. This was done at the very moment, too, when this Government were, through their Consul-General, insist- ing on the performance, by Portugal, of every stipulation that Govern- ment had entered into with us, to the very letter. Such was the time which Ministers had selected to make this alteration. He feared that they had acted thus without taking due care of the property of the King's t subjects in that country. Lord Gooinica said, that Lord Strangford had quoted the Methuen treaty imperfectly. The fact .was, it did not bind Por- tugal at all. That country had power, under the Methuen treaty, whenever it found the arrangements therein stipulated not to . beneficial, to depart from them. Again, in the treaty of 1810, the 26th and -33rd clauses Clearly Showed that no such previous intimation as Lord Strangford deemed 'necessary on the part. Of . . this country was required. With respect to the boasted advan. • tages of the Methuen treaty; Lord Goderich asked, Had the noble Lord ever heard of such a body as the Oporto Wine Com- pany ? Had the noble Lord ever heard what effect that Company had produced, when it was established in 1742 ? It was, without exception, the most detestable monopoly that ever existed. It was the most Inju- rious and the most pernicious to Portugal, and, at the same time, the most destructive to the interests of those countries whose rights it in- vaded. The Government of this country at that period complained of the establishment of this Company as flagrantly unjust; they declared that, by allowing it, the Government of Portugal had violated all its trea- ties with this country.
So far was the treaty of 1810 from being looked on as precluding England from the power of altering the commercial arrangements with Portugal, without such a notice as Lord Strangford deemed necessary, that in 1813, the Government of England declared to the Government of Portugal, in a remonstrance addressed to the court, then in Brazil, That unless the British merchants were allowed to buy and sell when they thought proper (which, by the way, they could not do even at the present period), without any hindrance or control on the part of the Oporto Wine Company, according to the plain meaning and intent of the treaty, his Majesty's Government were determined to bring into the British Parliament measures to facilitate the importation of wines from other countries, and thus prove to the world that the Prince Regent would not suffer treaties to be violated with impunity. The last para- graph stated, that the supply of wine was unequal to the demand; and that, under existing circumstances, it would be found necessary to seek for a supply in other quarters, by which means encouragement would be given to a formidable rival of the Portuguese wine trade. What was meant by a" formidable rival?" It was not Spain, nor Sicily, nor Tene- rife, that was alluded to—but France. This remonstrance was sent out at the moment when the Duke of Wellington had planted the standard of Great Britain triumphantly on the soil of Spain and Portugal. The Secre- tary of State who authorized that remonstrance was the Marquis of Lon- donderry, and the Ambassador to whom it was intrusted. was the Viscount Strangford. (Hear, hear!) The remonstrance had been resisted ; not the smallest redress had been granted ; but surely it was not to be argued, that be- cause England had forborne to demand it, she had forfeited her right. Lord ELLENBOROUGH thought there was considerable doubt on the construction of the act of 1810, notwithstanding the de- - cided judgment of Lord Goderich in respect of it. If he sought for the interpretation of that treaty, he would unquestionably rather have recourse to Lord Strangford, who drew it up, than to the Colonial Secretary. The letter of 1813 had been alluded to, but he did not consider it very regular for Government to act on a forgotten remonstrance, made no less than eighteen years ago. Two or three weeks was all that was required to give the notice which the treaty required, and thus all things would be set right. With respect to the new commercial arrangements, Lord Ellen- borough doubted their policy. Woollens were, he believed, exported to the average annual amount of 300.000/. He stated this not as a matter of extreme moment, but merely to Observe, that, considering the situation of this trade, it was necessary for his Majesty's Ministers to look to the danger to which they might ex- pose the traffic in woollens by adopting this plan. They ought not, for a supposed and contingent advantage, to hazard the loss of a sure and certain benefit. The object of the alteration, he understood, was to realize an increase of 240,000/. a year. Now he was certain, that such a sum never would be realized, because no importation of Cape wines 'would over take place under the duty which they meant to inflict :..and the total loss, with reference to that branch of the revenue, would not be less than 186,000/. When we proposed to lay a higher duty on an in- creasing trade—say the wine-trade—we might be safe enough ; hut, when we imposed an augmented duty on a decreasing trade—and such was the trade in Portuguese wines—the case was somewhat hazardous. The con- sumption of wines had fallen off in the last year to the extent of nearly 1,000,000 gallons, or one-seventh of the whole amount of importation ; yet, in the face of this fact, Ministers were about to raise the duty upon all but French wines. With regard to those wines, he admitted that in consequence of the diminution of duty there might be a considerable in- crease ; but the question was, whether it would be of an amount to com- pensate for the falling off in the import of other wines, and afterwards leave any material balance in favour of the revenue?
Lord Ellenborough denied, as did also Lord Strangford, the slightest intention to embarrass his Majesty's Government by the discussion of the Portuguese question. Lord BROUGHAM defended the conduct of Ministers from the charge of violating the national faith. He would sooner chop off his right hand than be guilty of such a violation. In the case of a small state like Portugal, such conduct would be mean as well as perfidious. What said the Methuen treaty ?
Not that England would at all times confer an advantage on Portuguese wines,—not that they should never be loaded with as high a duty as French wines,—but so long as England required the wines of Portugal, and admitted them at a reduced duty, Portugal should let in English 'woollens ; and that as soon as England shouldalter the arrangement with respect to Portuguese by raising them to the level of French wines, then she was to pay the penalty of the change by losing the advantage conferred upon her woollens in the Portuguese market.
Then again, as to the 26th article of the treaty of 1810, which, according to the doctrine of Lord Ellenborough, only he who framed it was capable of interpreting— "By the way," exclaimed Lord Brougham' "who tells the House this? Why, the son of my noble friend, the late Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Did the noble Baron, did your Lordships, ever hear any man, professional or not professional, say, that in order to come at the true construction of an act of Parliament, it was necessary to consult the in- dividual who brought it into Parliament ?—that to get at the intent and :meaning of a treaty, it was requisite to go to the Minister who signed it? Can any one figure to himself the indignation of my late noble and learned friend at hearing such a proposition advanced ? But that we should ever hearthe proposition advanced by the noble and learned Lord's ,own seed, in his own house, in the highest court in the realm—that is so monstrous that I should not have liked to be the individual—thelutlaess wight—to suggest even to my late noble friend even the possibility of the occurrence of such a thing. I well know how the statement wound have been received. (Laughter.) In point of fact, the 26th clause of the treaty of 1810 amounted to this, that the Methuen treaty remained not unaltered, hut altered, or rather subject to alteration. If England chose to abandon the peculiar advantages of the Portuguese market for her woollens, she might equalize the duties of Portuguese wines. England had only to pay this penalty, and it might do with these wines as it thought proper. Suppose it were the case of a landlord and tenant. The landlord or his steward had agreed that the tenant's rent should remain unaltered: in the original lease there was no stipulation of the rent continuing the same for fifteen years, or of notice ; it was a tenancy from year to year. If the tenant came to the landlord twenty-one years after his steward had stipulated that the rent should remain unaltered during pleasure, and said, "You have raised my rent—this is a breach of your agreement,)* the landlord would naturally reply, " I only consented to allow your rent to remain unaltered for the present' " (the very words of the treaty. of 1810). " But then," said the tenant, " there was to be no change for fifteen years." The answer was, " There was not a word about that iii the original lease—not a syllable about notice." Besides, it might be said the fifteen years had expired, assuming the pretence upon that head to be good. Alluding to the defence of the Methuen treaty by Mr. Fox, in 1 786, Lord Brougham said the defences of that treaty had been previously disposed of by Dr. Smith. What was the temptation to the Methuen treaty ? The notion that all the Brazil gold came to Portugal, and that we must endeavour to get a share of it how we could. These were the dictates and exploded errors of the worst school of policy now brought forward—not to embarrass his Majesty's Government. (Laughter.) No ; Government was not so weak as to be thus easily embarrassed. Our wise forefathers said, " Let us trim the balance of trade: never mind having commodities cheap, never mind the interests of the consumer. Portugal has Brazil; from Brazil comes gold ; the only way to get our due share of it is by making all the sacri- fices we can,—a sacrifice of common sense among the rest. This was the cause of the Methuen treaty. Absurd as it was, inconsistent as it was„, monstreusly offending against common sense as it did in those days, how infinitely more unhappy and pitiable was the condition of his noble friends (who had te make bricks without straw) at present, when Brazil no longer belonged to Portugal, and when we could send our woollens at once to Brazil if we wanted gold ? (Hear !) If they were hapless and de- ceived men who approved of the Methuen treaty in 1703, how infinitely more hapless was the condition of his noble friends who defended that absurdity in 1831? (Laughter.) The Duke of WELLINGTON thought, the extraordinary pains taken by the Chancellor to make good the defence of Government, argued any thing but a conviction on his part that the charge was not an embarrassing one. The Duke did not accuse Ministers of an intentional breach of national faith, but he thought they had neglected the treaty, as they had done many things besides, for the purpose of bringing matters forward in Parliament at an early period. The trade of the entire Peninsula was greater than that with any Continental state, Germany only excepted. It amounted to nearly 6,000,0001.; which was to be hazarded for the chance of 100,000/. of additional revenue. In regard to Ireland also, the Duke considered our continued friendly relations with Portugal of extreme importance. 'Unfortunately, the great measure which he had the honour to propose three years ago, had not answered so as to produce—he would not say all the advantages he expected from it, but—the amountof advantage which some part of the public expected. To use a vulgar expression, a new hare had started, and we must probably look forward a long way ere the agita- tion excited in Ireland by the new question should have subsided. Now he wanted to know whether Portugal would not be as important to us during the agitation of that question as it had been previously ? Lord KING assailed the opponents of Ministers with ridicule.
Of course the observations of the noble Duke and the noble Lord op- posite are not at all meant to embarrass the Government. All they meant
was to sing a Te Deem over the Methuen treaty ; and if, as at the wakes in Ireland, any row sprung up at the funeral, it was not their fault. After
the example of these noble mourners, the next party Ministers woulet have complaining of the direful consequences of abrogating the Methuen treaty, would be the commercial interest—then the colonial—then the
shipping—then the lead, if it had not complained already—(Laughter)- then the barilla—and, last of all, the band of gentlemen pensioners, la- rnenting the good old times that were never to return. Earl GREY exposed Lord Strangford's inconsistency. The noble mover admitted that the Oporto Company's monopoly was a virtual breach of faith of the Methuen treaty, and yet charged that breach. of faith upon Ministers. But that was not all. The noble Lord, in 1813, writes, that he omitted to propose certain alterations in the act of 1810, because, said he, "1 know that the Portuguese Government would be strongly opposed to it ;" and yet he now gravely comes down and charges Ministers with a breach of faith in not forcing upon the Portuguese his own avowed omission. In the name of common sense, was there ever such a charge heard from one engaged in diplomacy ? Indeed, he must say he was ashamed, for the country, of the diplomacy exercised on the occasion. (Bear!) What I to record in his own words an omission, and the reasons for it, and then charge others, as a breach of faith, with the non-enforcement of the things omitted—was ever such a thing heard of since the days of Adam ? (Hear!) The conduct of the Government, his Lordship contended, was no breach of faith— It was an assumption of a privilege, useful and advantageous to the country. With respect to a breach of faith, the complaint had always been against the Portuguese Government on that account. The complaint had never been dropped, but the vexations on the part of the Oporto Company had gone on unredressed up to the present day. lie believed that no person who had heard the debate would go tome unsatisfied on the subject, that it had been proved that we had a right to do what we were doing, without any imputation on our good faith; and he was equally convinced, that when the other part of the question came before the House to be debated, he should be able to show that we could do it without danger to the commercial or political interests of the country.. (Hear !) Lord STRANGFORD, in his reply, lamented, very feelingly, the treatment he had received from one who had been joined in office with him—who had sat at the same desk, dipped into the same ink-glass, scribbled on the same paper—one with whom he had been conjoined as Hermione with Helena," like to a donble cherry seeming parted, but yet a union in partition." This flight of his Lordship was received with much laughter ; which, with the com- parison itself, the Wearied reporters have omitted. .
7. PLURALITIES OF THE IRISH CHURCH. Lord KING, on Mon- day, in moving for papers connected with the Union of Wicklow, stated, that in 2,450 parishes in Ireland, to such a degree had the principle of union been carried, there were only 700 resident clergymen : 1,701 parishes of the 2,450 had been consolidated into 513 unions—Irish Consols as they might be called, and only 749 were left in a state of single blessedness. In some cases, so many as ten parishes had been united under a single incumbent, and in one instance thirteen ; the Wicklow union consisted of six. In the diocese of Clonfert, there was not, in 1824, a single dis- united parish ; union prevailed over the whole diocese. In the diocese of Killaloe, 136 flocks were assigned to 44 shepherds ; in that of Dublin, there were 97 cases of united parishes. These unions continued during the life of the incumbent ; and could not be renewed but by the act of the Bishop diocesan, who was called on by law to assign his reasons to the Lord-Lieutenant and the Privy Council of Ireland. If the reasons were deemed unsatis- factory, the union was at an end. The union of Wicklow consisted of the Vicarage of Wicklow, the Rectory and Vicarage of Drumkey, and the Vicarage of Killpole. The statement of the Archbishop (Magee) was, that the income of the union amounted to 9001.; that the glebe land was only 3 acres, the total of the land in the union 17,200. Lord King, on the contrary, asserted, that the in- come was 2,2501., the glebe lands 40 acres, the land in the union 22,000 Irish, or 36,000 English. The parishes of Drumkey and Killpole were described as incapable of supporting a clergyman ; and yet the income derivable from them was 3951.,—double the average, according to the Bishop of London, of the English clergy. The incumbent was the son of the Archbishop ; and, in addition to the union, he held the parish of St. John's, Dublin, the prebend of St. Patrick's, Christchurch, and the archdeaconry of Kilmure in Clonfert. He did not hold the next parish to the union, which the former incumbent had, but his brother did. The whole of the union was, in fact, a piece of family arrangement.
The Archbishop of CASHEL defended the union, on the ground that the tithes of it had long been united to the prebend of St. Patrick.
Lord FARNHAM contended, that the facts of the case had been unfairly detailed : the union was estimated by Archbishop Magee as under 1000/. on the best possible data. There was at present a conspiracy on foot in Ireland to rob the Church of its tithes ; and he held such attacks on the high functionaries of the Church to be part of a system whose object was to subvert the Church altoge- ther. His Lordship particularly alluded to the advice given to a meeting of the parishioners of Greig, in Kilkenny, by a priest named Doyle, a relation of Dr. Doyle—that the people should re- sist payment of their tithes ; and if their property were seized, they should oppose the sale of it.
Lord MELBOURNE said, it was but just to add to this statement of individual impropriety, the filet that numerous Catholic priests had advised the people to pay their tithes peacefully, and depre- cated any resistance of the payment.
After some further conversation, in which the Earl of WICKLOW, Lord Daasmsr, and the Duke of NORTHUMBERLAND joined, Lord King's motion for the Archbishop's report to the Irish Privy Council was agreed to.
8. WEST INDIA INTERESTS. On Monday, previous to the House of Commons going into Committee of Supply, the Mar- quis of CHANDOS moved a resolution, that the distressed condition of the West India interests demanded the immediate attention of the House. He particularly insisted on the pressure of the heavy duty on sugar, which had been imposed as a war-tax, and ought to have ceased with the necessity that imposed it. He called on those members of the Government who had formerly advocated a reduction of the sugar-tax, and particularly on the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, to lend his aid in carrying the resolution, in conformity with the sentiments which he so often expressed. The Marquis avowed himself most anxious for the settlement of the Slave question, and said he would cheerfully join in any mea- sure for that purpose.
Mr. P. THOMSON thought the more regular course would be to move for a Committee. Ministers had not neglected nor were they disposed to neglect the West India interest, but they must distribute relief according to their means. He certainly thought the coal-tax and the candle-tax much better subjects of reduction at the present moment than the sugar-tax. Mr. Thomson had always advocated the reduction as a benefit to the consumers, not as a benefit to the planters. Unless the latter could obtain a com- plete monopoly of the English market, the removal of the whole of the duties wouldbe no advantage to them. He was happy to learn that the planters were anxious for the settlement of the slave question ;. the Government of the country was equally so. Mr. Thomson denied that he haddivided with, Lord Chandos on the West India question, on the occasion to which allusion had been made. The minority in which he and the Marquis had been united, was on a motion for the reduction of the sugar duties ; for which he was still prepared to vote, when the means of reducing them were at hit disposal. Mr. HART Davis did not think that if the sugar duties were reduced the whole saving would go to the consumer ; part of it would find its way to the pockets of the grower. Re thought no body of men had a stronger claim to relief than the sngar-planters. Mr. Davis requested to know, in regard to another class of planters, whether it was the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose a duty on Irish tobacco, now that his plan for reducing the duty had been abandoned ? Mr. ROBINSON hoped, while the persons connected with the timber-trade were about to submit certain considerations to his Majesty's Government against the resolutions connected with it, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not hastily answer that question. Lord A LTHORP said. he was fully prepared to admit the distress of the West India interest : at the same time, he must say that none of the plans for removing it hitherto offered to Govern- ment appeared to him consistent with the interests of the country. Neither did he think that the first tax to be reduced should be the sugar-tax. It was commonly urged against those who proposed tetake off a tax, that they must provide a substitute ; but now, gentlemen stood forward to object to every tax that he proposed to impose, and the substitute they offered was to take off another. He could appeal even to the West India proprietors themselves, whether the coal and candle taxes were not more proper objects of reduction than the sugar-tax ? When he had removed these— when he had proposed taxes in lieu of them, and they had all and every one of them been strenuously objected to—could any thing be more unreasonable than to ask him to add a remission of the sugar-duties to the remissions already made ? When the timber- duties came under discussion, he should be prepared to show that they would not be accompanied with the injury it was alleged that they would be, either to the colonies or the shipping. To the mo- tion of the Marquis of C handos, he must give a negative ; although, if a committee would satisfy the planters, he was most ready to grant it. In answer to Mr. Davis's question, Lord Althorp said, that the tobacco-duty being to remain unaltered, he did not think that part of his plan which related to Irish tobacco need be gone into : he should therefore postpone, for this session, any further consideration of the tobacco grown there.
Mr. Hume was of opinion that the admission of East India on the same terms as West India sugars, would do the planters good instead of harm, by removing much of the under which they at present laboured. He recommended a Committee.
Mr. CHARLES GRANT objected to the resolution, merely because it went to obstruct the supplies otherwise he would certainly have voted with the Marquis of dhandos. Mr. BERNAL said, if the motion were to embarrass the Govern- ment, he would vote against it; but he could not be persuaded ta view it in that light, or to believe that it was brought forward for that purpose. Sir JAMES GRAHAM said, he would take the sense of the House on the resolution, if he stood alone. He neither denied nor wished to deny the distress complained of; nor did he think that the passing of the resolution would obstruct the supply, but in the House and out of the House it would and must be received as a censure passed on the conduct of Ministers. They had heard a great deal about the necessity of supporting public credit. If, however, gentlemen went on supporting every proposition for the reduction of taxation, and resisting every proposition for its imposi- tion, they might talk as they would of the spotless honour of the country —they might declaim as loudly as they pleased against all infringements of public faith and public credit,—but he there plainly declared that such a course was altogether inconsistent with the maintenance of the public faith and the preservation of the national honour. (cheers.) The House had to judge whether, in the remission of taxation, it was or was not the duty of Government to take off the duty on coals and candles without loss of time. (Hear, hear!) If this were decided in the affirmative, and if it were admitted, as it must be, that the public service could not go on without a certain amount of revenue, and that in remitting taxes the best taxes had been taken off, the only remaining question was, whether the House would or would not support the Government. (Cheers.)
Sir James said, he was sorry to differ in his view of the subject from that of his friend Mr. Charles Grant, but in such a case all considerations of personal regard must give way to his sense of public duty.
Sir ROBERT PEEL interposed. The true way to promote the interests and add to-the comforts of the slaves, was first to restore prosperity to the West India islands. The noble Lord, in bringing forward those resolutions, said that the West In- dies required relief, and he quite agreed with him. With regard to this motion, however, he (Sir R. Peel) was placed in this difficulty—if he should vote for the resolutions of the noble Lord in the present state of the Budget, he might be encouraging the expectation that some fiscal reduc- tion would be made for the relief of the West India interests, which hereafter it would be found impossible to effect ; and he therefore would recommend the noble Lord to withdraw his motion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had pledged himself to take off the coal-duty and the can- dle•duty ; and Sir Robert had not as yet heard a satisfactory explanation as to the quarter upon which the new taxes were to he imposed, or in what manner the deficiency they occasioned was to be supplied: In such a state of things, he must advert to the paramount necessity which ex- isted, in the present times, for maintaining the public credit inviolate, (Hear !) ; and, impressed as he was strongly with that necessity, he could not pledge himself to remove any portion of the revenue until he saw a certainty of its place being supplied. Upon that single ground, be should find it impossible to vote for the motion of his noble friend, and he there- fore hoped that his noble friend would not put the resolutions to a vote that night, but that he would consent to withdraw his motion. Sir Robert said he had no other objection to the Ministry's tak- ing their stand upon the notice- of the Marquis of Chandos, but that it had been too little discussed, and was of too little weig,ht.to found on it a vote for the exclusion of any Ministry. This was
his sole reason for not voting for it. •
Mr. HUNT said, the Minister had taken off the coal-tax, the candle-tax, and the newspaper-tax ; he. had given the people heat, light, and knowledge. . He- would not join in.any vote that went to shake the credit of the Minister; while the 1st of March was so nigh at hand: had that day been more distant, he might perhaps have voted with the Marquis of Chandos. •
The resolution, in consequence of Sir Robert Peers recommen- dation, was then withdrawn. ' •