Debates anti procedrings in Varliatnent.
- In the House of Commons, on Tuesday, Sir ROBERT PEEL announced the intentions of Government with respect to the reductions in the Timber- duties. This statement he was anxious to make at the earliest oppor- tunity, on account of the importance of the subject, and the fact that the American mail was on the eve of sailing from Liverpool— "We propose to make ultimately a reduction in the differential duty on foreign timber, so that the duty shall remain after the redaction at 15s. instead of the present amount. I think on hewn timber the duty is now 25s.; we propose to reduce it to 15s. But, with the view of insuring to the consumer as great a benefit as possible, the Baltic timber trade partaking now very much of the na- nre a monopoly in consequence of the very great demand for it, (the supply • g hardly sufficient to meet the demand,) we do notpropose that the reduction sliall be immediate. We propose that from the 5th of April 1847, the period of the yeas we think most suitable for making a reduction of duty, the duty on hewn timber shall be reduced by Sc.; and on the 5th of April 1848, by another 5s. With respect to sawn timber maintaining the same proportions, the reduction of duty ought to be 68. on the 5th of April 1847, and another 6s. on the 5th of April 1848." With respect to the smaller descriptions, such as lath-wood, spars, and oars, the reduction would be proportionate. Sir Robert reserved for considera- tion, whether the entire reduction might not take place on these descriptions from the 5th of April 1847, -instead of extending over two years.
On the same day, Mr. WODEHOUSE moved for a copy of the warrant appointing Mr. H. S. Chapman to be Chief Judge of the Supreme Court at Wellington in New Zealand; also papers relative to United States tariffs presented to the House in 1828. . His object in this motion seemed to be to convict Mr. Chapman of having made erroneous Corn returns when acting as Assistant Commissioner for the inquiry Into the condition of the Hand-loom Weavers; and to show that Mr. Smith, the President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, was wrong in stating before the Import-duties Committee that the prohibitory tariff of the United States was owing to the refusal of England to receive corn and flour from America.
Passing from these subjects, Mr. Wodehouse adverted to the efforts of Dr. Bowring to prevail on the Pacha of Egypt to liberalize his commercial policy : and by this there hung a tale. He had the information from a source on which he could implicitly rely. It was from a friend—from a particular friend—a per am on whom reliance could be placed. The friend was a lady—(Laughter a married lady—(Roars of laughter)—a lady whom he was in the habit of— The conclusion of the sentence was drowned in the torrent of laughter which it brought down.) She was not an actual eye-witness—(Great laughter)—but there could be no doubt of the authenticity of the information; and she assured him that those who saw the learned gentleman now in every-day life beheld him shorn of his beams. (Laughter.) If honourable gentlemen had only seen him as she saw him—(Shouts of laughter)—with a large straw hat nearly as big as the Clerk's table, a full flowing beard and moustaches--(Laughter)—and, for the best was yet to come, with a pair of wide Circassian trousers—( Great laughter, which again prevented the conclusion of the sentence from being heard.) • Dr. Bowlineo assured Mr. Wodehouse that the lady had practised greatly on his credulity in telling him such a tale- - It was quite true that he bad conversed with the PRR13A on the subject of pro- tection; and it was equally true that be had succeeded in convincing him that his sjstem of protection was wrong: he had the satisfaction of seeing him issue a decree directing that the export and import of grain should be free. When acting as commercial Commissioner for this country, Dr. Bowring was continually told that England should look at her own tariffs before calling upon other nations to alter theirs.
The motion was agreed to.
On Thursday, Mr. PATTISON inquired when the new duties would come into operation?
Sir ROBERT PEEL replied— So soon as the House should have affirmed any resolution it might be pleased lo come to, and allowed that resolution to be reported, the Government would propose, in conformity with the general usage, immediately to permit the reduc- tion of the duties; taking the usual guarantee, that in the event of the resolu- tion not receiving the final sanction of Parliament the old duties should be paid. Generally speaking, therefore the reduction would take effect from the day on which the resolution was aimed to; but perhaps there would be an exception made in the ease of seeds, on which the reduction might not take effect until June.
FOREIGN COMMERCIAL RELATIONS.
In the House of Commons, on Thursday, questions were put to Sir
Robert Peel to elicit information as to the state of commercial relations between England and Spain and the Brazils.
BOWRING asked if any information had been received from the Spanish GoVeitiment of their intention to visit the commerce of England with hostile measimes, in consequence of the unfavourable position in which Spanish colonial stigma are phaied m the existing tariff? Sir Rons-mr PEEL said, that no inti- mation of the hind bad been received; but it would be seen from papers in pos- session of the House, that the Spanish Government has reserved to itself the power of acting on principles unfavourable to British commerce. So far, how- ever, from indicating any intention to act upon that power, the following friendly expressions were recently made use of by M. Martinez de la Rosa.—" Our motto is ' Good-will towards all, friendship with some, special intimacy with none.' As far as England is concerned, it has rarely happened that our relations with that country have been more frank, more friendly, and more satisfactory, than they are at this day. The Spanish Government has received on various recent occasions proofs of the confidence which England places in our probity and good faith." In reply to a question from Lord JOHN RUSSELL as to the state of the corre- spondence with Spain relative to the sugars of Cuba, Sir ROBERT PEEL stated that a letter had passed on each side; and copies would be submitted to the House before the discussion on the Sugar-duties.
Mr. LABOUCMERE made similar inquiry as to the Brazilian sugars; but Sir ROBERT PEEL delayed his answer.
Mr. Hurr inquired whether the Government intended to repeal any part of the Brazilian Slave-trade Act of last session? Sir JAMES GB.AFIAM said that no such intention existed.
In reference to the same subject, Sir ROBERT PEEL read an extract from a despatch forwarded by Lord Aberdeen to the British Minister, directing him to assure the Brazilian Government that nothing could afford the English Govern- ment greater pleasure than to find themselves relieved from the necessity of en- forcing the act they were about to propose, [the bill of last session,] by the adop- tion d another treaty, similar either to that concluded between Great Britain and Spain in 1835 or to that between Great Britain and Portugal of 1842.
In the House of Lords, on Thursday, the Earl of DALHOUSIE pre- sented a series of resolutions which had been agreed to by the Select Committee appointed to consider the mode in which the application for Railway Bills should he dealt with. These resolutions were in substance that the Standing Order which prescribes the payment of a deposit of one-tenth on the capital subscribed, be suspended on such Railway Bills as shall commence in the House of Lords; that no bill be read a first time unless a deposit of one-twentieth be paid by the 6th Feb- ruary; that no bill be read a third time unless an equal amount be again paid; and that no petition for a bill be received after the 23d Feb_ rimy.
On the same evening, a report was submitted from the same Committee to the Commons. For the purpose of facilitating business, and of creating early employment in Ireland, the report recommends that all the Irish Railway Bills should commence in the House of Lords; the Commons waiving their privileges as to money-clauses. Other bills, of a kind de- scribed, may also commence in the Lords. Recommendations as to minor details are contained in the report.
EMPLOYMENT IN IRELAND.
The second reading of the Drainage Bill was agreed to in the House of Commons on Monday; several Irish Members repeating their objections to the constitution and working of the Board of Works, and Sir TimmAs FREMANTLE defending both. The Public Works Bill was considered in detail on Monday. Several objections were urged by Mr. F. FRENCH, Sir R. FERGUSON, and Colonel CONOLLY, against the clauses relating to compulsory presentments by Grand Juries; and a division took place; but the objectors were in a minor- ity of 3. The clauses were all agreed to, with some verbal amendments.
On Monday, Sir THOMAS FREMANTLE introduced a bill intended to afford encouragement to the construction of small piers and harbours in Ireland, the object being to extend the fisheries. The proposal was to advance 50,0001. in five years' at the rate of 10,000i. a year; but with power to the Treasury to enlarge the proportion according to the pecu:- liarities of any particular case. - The measure would apply to harbours and piers an the sea-coast as well as on rivers, and would thus tend to remove one of the main obstacles in the way of extending the Irish fisheries. Mr. FITZSTEPHEN FRENCH, MT. ROSS, and Sir H. W. BARRON expressed their approval of the measure; the last-named Member remark- ing, that the Irish fisheries, if properly managed, would not only supply Ireland with fish, but would enable the fishermen to supply foreign mar- kets. The bill was read a first time.
POOR-LAWS IN IRELAND.
In the House of Lords, on Thursday, the Earl of CLANCARTY moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the Poor-laws in Ireland, and into the operation of the medical charities supported in whole or in part by grants from the county cess- The destitution which prevailed in Ireland could not fail to operate unfavour- ably on the peace of the country and the safety of life. A Poor-law efficient for its purpose might be the means of effecting much good, and so might the medical charities. These latter institutions consist of infirmaries, fever hospitals, and dispensaries' supported from the county assessment and by donations and sub- scriptions. Various drawbacks to the usefulness of these charities exist. The infirmaries are useless to persons who live beyond the range of ten or twelve miles; the fever hospitals are only available to those living within a range of five miles: and the same objection applies to dispensaries. The remedy suggested by Lord Clancarty was to subdivide the existing Poor-law Unions so as to facili- tate the establishment of dispensaries and fever 1mspitals, whose operations should extend over a given area. A great number of fever hospitals would necessarily be required; but he believed the plan would eventually be found economical. As to the infirmaries, he suggested, that instead of the 100/. Irish, contributed an- nually to each by the Government, an equivalent which would amount to about 100,0001. should be paid and expended in building infirmaries in those districts where they are required. He also proposed to vest the management of the dis- pensaries and hospitals in a )Board composed of rate-payers, donors, and sub- scribers, to certain amounts. Lord Clancarty next adverted to the Poor-law; remarking that he did not be- lieve that any hostile feeling existed against it. He touched upon several objec- tions which had been urged to parts of its working; some of which he thought groundless, and others he hoped. would be corrected by time. He approved highly of the workhouse system; and complimented the Government for the efforts Ilsey were making to create employment for the poor. Lord BROUGHAM urged the Government not to delay bringing forward those measures which were really necessary for the peace of Ireland, and alluded to in the Queen's Speech; and as their Lordships had nothing else
to do at present, a more convenient time could not be found for consider- ing them. The Duke of WELLINGTON assented to the appointment of the Com- mittee; remarking, that the suggestions of Lord Brougham would meet with due attention from the Government.
The Committee was appointed accordingly.
ROIKAN CATHOLIC DISABILITIES.
On Thursday, Mr. WATSON moved for leave to bring in a bill for the farther repeal of enactments imposing pains and penalties upon Roman ,Catholics on account of religion—
He did not intend to go into the details of this bill at present, because the prin- cipal parts of the same measure brought in by him last year had received the sanction of the Criminal Law Commissioners, to whom it was remitted. But there was one part of the bill to which he wished to direct the particular atten- tion of Sir Robert Inglis—it was the repeal of certain enactments by which ROM= Cathilic clergymen, who had come to this country and placed themselves under monastic vows, were liable to severe punishment, even to transportation. These enactments were continued in the bill of 1829.
Sir JAMES GRAHAM would not offer any opposition to the introduc- tion of the measure. The whole question, however' was in the hands of the Criminal Law Commissioners; who had framed a bill to repeal such Statutes as were susceptible of a penal character. That bill had been in- troduced into the other House by the Lord Chancellor; and every effort would be made to pass it into a law as speedily as possible.
Sir ROBERT INGLIS sarcastically advised Mr. Watson to leave the matter in the hands of Ministers-
• Sir James Graham adopted as his own Mr. Watson's bill of last session—a bill to repeal the Act of Supremacy—a bill to enable Roman Catholic Bishops to assume the sees of the Prelates of the Established Church—a bill to legalize pro- cessions of a sect at a time when they prohibited processions of other persona, lest public hostility and disturbance should be provoked—a bill to repeal the act for expelling the Jesuits ! So far as he recollected, these were the provisions of the ba They were comprehended under the five points he had stated; which Be points were to be brought forward in that House with all the anthority of an" united Cabineel
Sr JAMES GRAHAM denied that the Government had adopted Mr. Wat- son's bill of last session.; and as to the Act of Supremacy, Sir Robert luglis would see, when the bill introduced into the Lords reached the Commons, that it did not repeal that act.
Lord Joint MANNERS held that the Church of England had a right to Remand that her ancient landmarks should not be swept away, nor her bulwarks destroyed; but he could not think she could be benefited by re- taining penalties as alien to the spirit Of Christian charity as the Govern- ment that imposed was averse from the cruelty of enforcing them. No one would wish to put down the Cistertian monks, who devoted the whole a their time to the benefit of suffering humanity.
Mr. O'Corarzu. alluded to the atrocities recently inflicted on the nuns of Minsk by authority of the Emperor of Russia—
The monster who could commit such outrages was an object of loathing: it was not creditable to the Christians of Europe that some public demonstration had not been made to express the horror and detestation of all civilized Christen- dom against the monster and his satellites who had perpetrated such enormities.
Lord Jona/ Rtissma, was not sure whether Parliament ought not to real altogether that part of the law which related to monastic orders, tag the same securities which they required from Protestant Dissenters, and enacting that the houses should be registered and visited.
Leave was given to bring in the bill.
Ilfturre. In the House of Commons, onMonday, Mr. THOMAS DUNCOMBE attired the Secretary at War for more explicit information as to the intentions of Government relative to the Militia. Sir-James Graham had been understood to say that Government did not immediately intend to call out the Militia: but a doubt existed as to what Sir James really meant. Mr. SIDNEY HERBERT said, the misapprehension arose from the confusion of two terms—to "embody " the Militia, and to "call out" the Militia. By the bill to be introduced, Government would have the power to "call out" the Militia for training, but not to " embody " it. He understood that considerable alarm existed on the subject, and that clubs were forming for providing substitutes; but he hoped such proceedings would be suspended till the terms of the bill were known. By that measure a system of selection would be adopted which would be far less onerous and disagreeable than the ballot; and every regard would be shown to the comfort and convenience of the community.
EccLamarricat Comers. In reply to a. question on Tuesday, Sir ROBERT PEEL stated that the Government did not intend to introduce any measure re- specting Ecclesiastical Comte this session.
Corners or Bwatrzsra. In reply to Mr. CAMPBELL, on Wednesday, Sir JAMES GRAHAM stated that inquiries were making under the auspices of the Privy Council with the view of enabling the Government to introduce a supple- mental bill extending over the whole of England Courts of Requests having juris- diction up-to 20/.
' 'CHARITABLE BEQUESTS. A bill to amend the laws relating to bequests for pious and charitable purposes was introduced into the House of Commons, on Monday, by Lord JOHN MANNERS.
BONE-ORUSHING ne WORKHOUSES. From an explanation given on Wednes- day by Sir JAHES Gs A HAM it appears that the Poor-law Commissioners have issued an order prohibiting bone-crushing in workhouses; the order to take effect from the 1st of January. In nine cases, where the circumstances are peculiar, Sir James has suspended the operation of' the order for three months.
SIR THOIL18 LETHBRIDGE ON THE CORN-LAWS. Mr. ESCOTT presented it petition on Thursday, signed by Sir Thomas Lethbridge, (described by Mr. Escott as the largest landowner in Somerset,) alleging that a remission of the duties on corn would be useful, and praying the House topass the commercial measure proposed by the First Lord of the Treasury.
SUPPRESSION OF NEW Warr&On Thursday, Mr. GEORGE BANKES, moring for a return of all applications for the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, took exception to the conduct of Government. A rumour prevailed that two seats for the county of Dorset were immediately to become vacant: this he was told last week; but, much to his surprise, no new writ had yet been issued; and he thought Ministers were called upon to give an explanation on the subject. The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER explained, that it was not the duty of the Government to move for a new writ: any such practice might be susceptible of much abuse. [The writs were afterwards moved for, by private Members, and ordered.] NEW WIUTS were ordered, on Monday, for Rutland, in the room of Mr.Dawnay; on Tuesday, for Chichester, in the room of Lord Arthur Lennox; on Thursday, for Buckingham, in the room of Sir Thomas Fremantle, and for Dorsetshire, in the room of Lord Ashley and Mr. H. C. Stnrt; yesterday, for East Suffolk, in thermal of Lord Henniker; all of whom have resigned.