In both Houses, considerable time has been occupied in the presentation f the vast mass of petitions from county meetings, corporate and other influential bodies and assemblages. Among the petitions to the Lords, one presented by the Bishop of OXFORD from Windsor, praying that their Lordships would "either pass new laws, or use the power of the existing Jaws to putolown the Papal aggression," elicited from Lord BROUGHA3I the remark that the House is a legislative and judicial, and not an executive body. The Bishop of 0 XFOR.D explained, that the House might address her Majesty calling on her to use her power and authority in ordering tho Law-officers of the Crown to prefer an indictment. Lord BROUGHAM declared he should be very sorry indeed to see the House of Lords taking any measures leading to indictments on which itself might hereafter be called to pronounce the judgment of last resort. The Bishop of OXFORD rejoined, that the House might proceed by address to call on her Majesty to discontinue the practice of granting temporal rank or precedence to members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy ; which, in his opinion, would be a very useful and salutary measure.
LORD MINTO AND THE POPE.
Earl Prrzwir.trAm was anxious that his friend Lord Minto should have an opportunity of disabusing the public mind as to the imputation against himself, that he in Rome was made cognizant of the measures since executed in this country, and now generally referred to by the cant phrase of the "Papal aggression." Had Lord Minto in any way whatever made himself a party to that aggression ? The Earl of Mime answered, that there is no foundation whatever for the report alluded to. In the various conversations he had with the Pope and with the Cardinal Secretary of State, no allusion had ever been made, at any time, to any design of organizing a Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country ; nor had it ever been even hinted that any such measure was in contemplation. No communication whatever had been made to him on the subject, either publicly or privately. It had never been the subject of conversation between himself and any other person, either publicly or privately, while he was at Rome ; and no one was more surprised than himself at reading in the newspapers the statements made on the subject.
ORDER OF 110USE OF COMMONS BUSINESS.
The amendment of the Sessional Orders, which was threatened by the Premier last session soon after the defeat of Ministers by Lord Ashley on the question of addressing the Queen for the stoppage of Sunday Postage, was brought before the House of Commons by Lord JOHN RUSSELL on Thursday. It will be recollected that the address to the Queen was carried in a thin sitting of the whole House, and that Ministers declared it to have been carried by surprise, against the judgment of the majority. Lord John now dilated on the evil of the rule allowing minorities thus to snatch resolutions which the Cabinet disapproves of; and must advise the Crown to reject. Supposing the advisers of the Crown were of opinion that the address ought not to have been carried, either the House or the Crown would be placed in a position of difficulty. If the majority of the House thought the address one that ought not to have been carried, and the Crown refused compliance with the address, the Crown was placing itself in the position in which the House of Commons ought to be, and carrying out the will of the House of Commons. But if the Crown, thinking the address ought not to be carried into effect, declined compliance with its prayer, and upon renewed discussion the majority of the House of Commons again asked the Crown to comply with the address, the Crown was placed in direct collision with the majority of the House of Commons. Although the Crown ought to have full liberty of refusing the prayer of addresses, that was a power which ought to be sparingly exercised, and advice to that effect ought not to be given except in a case of grave importance. He thought it desirable that the House should have an opportunity of reconsidering the course to be taken after hearing a proposal for an address. He therefore moved,
That this House will not proceed upon any motion for an address to the Crown to which opposition is offered but in a Committee of the whole House, except with Inspect to matters which have been previously submitted to a Select Committee."
Mr. HERR= and Mr. GooLsons had a strong Parliamentary objection to this proposal.
How extremely distasteful and inconvenient would be any restriction on some occasions when the House would desire, to give immediate expression to its feelings. On almost all matters connected with the Colonies and Foreign
affairs, and on numerous domestic questions, the ohief mode of gaining information is by address to the Crown : but if the Minister say "No" to any request of correspondence or papers, any motion in relation thereto would be postponed till a Committee can be formed. It is extremely hazardous to make alterations of practice, the full effect of which it is so difficult to fix clearly in the mind. The occurrence of last year showed only that the Minister did not sufficiently possess the confidence of the House to demand safely a reversal of the first vote: the cure of such occurrences is that Government should acquire the confidence of the House. Sir ROBERT INoms having criticized the terms of the motion, Lord JOLLY Russziz offered to agree to a postponement till Tuesday. But Sir ROBERT INaiis objected, that "it was impossible, it could be an adjournment" • it must be a withdrawal, and a new motion. Mr. DiaRAELI suggested the additional doubt, that the project did not-seem to be so mature as to warrant Lord John in taking Tuesday next —Motion withdrawn ; to be renewed on Tuesday.
MONEY VOTES AFTER MIDNIGHT.
The motion by Mr Hums, "That no money vote be entered on after twelve o'clock at midnight," was opposed by the Casucirmion. of the Exclime= and Sir GEORGE GREY; on the ground that the existing practice is sufficiently careful of the public money, while a formal binding rule would be inconvenient to the public service. Sir CHARLES WOOD said, he hardly knew an instance in which any Government persevered in enforcing a vote after midnight when the House showed an indisposition to proceed : but Mr. Srooxe.a. quoted a marked instance against Sir Charles himself. The last grant to Maynooth was taken at a quarter after one in the morning. Mr. BAILLIB suggested a compromise ; and offered to oppose Mr. Brotherton's annual motion, if the present one were assented to, —Negatived, by 116 to 47.
MT. BROTHERTON renewed his yearly motion, "That no business be proceeded with after midnight; and that at twelve o'clock at midnight precisely, notwithstanding there may be business under discussion, Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without putting any question." Quoting from a table the proofs of nocturnal excess by the House, he warned Members of the risk they are running. There never was a session with so great a mortality among them as the last; in which the House sat more hours, and more hours after midnight, than in almost any other session. It has been observed that Mr. Brotherton has of late years relaxed his efforts in his peculiar cause : the explanation is, that he cannot always catch the eye of the Speaker, and he cannot interrupt a Member in his speech.
Sir GEORGE GREY repeated the usual objections against Mr. Brotherton's motion but expressed a hope that its recurrence will renew the influence of the suggestions made some time ago in favour of the salutary practice of abridging speeches and shortening observations as much as possible.—Motion negatived, by 108 to 32.
CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES.
The Marquis of LausnowNi& intimated to the House of Peers on Tuesday, that the Earl of Shaftesbury has, from the weight of advancing age and increasing infirmities, resigned the Chairmanship of the Committees. Lord Lansdowne paid a high compliment to the integrity and ability of Lord Shaftesbury, and intimated the neutrality of the Government on the choice of-his-successor, by stating that he did not wish that there should be any discussion on the subject. Lord STANLEY added his votive of sincere admiration for Lord Shaftesbury, and moved that Lord Redesdale be his successor. The Duke of WELLINGTON mentioned, that some years in anticipation of the present resignation, he had recommended Lord Retiesdale to devote himself to the Committee business of the House : he believed there was now no person more capable of the duties of Chairman'. Lord LANSDOWNE concurred. Lord Redesdale was unanimously chosen ; and suitably acknowledged the honourable appointment.
Ties LATE MR. LEY AND HIS SUCCESSOR.
A resolution of respect to the memory of the late Mr. John Henry Ley, for the distinguished and exemplary mannerin which he uniformly discharged the duties of his situation at the table of the House for above forty-nine years, was moved by Lord JOHN RUSSELL; and adopted by the House, after testimonies of warm respect, by Sir ROBERT INGLIS, Mr. Gonutuaw, and Mr. HUME.
The eulogy on Mr. Ley by Lord John Russell, Mr. Htrms made the ground of strong animadversions on the appointment of Sir Denis Le Merchant as the successor of Mr. Ley. The high and deserved praises of Mr. Ley were a severe satire on the act which appointed a successor to him who had not one day's experience to recommend him. Mr. Hume addressed himself especially to young Members. It was their duty to make themselves acquainted with the forms of the House, in order to qualify themselves as much as possible for the performance of their duties. But what did Sir Denis Le Merchant know of the practice of the House ? what information could he give to young Members, as Mr. Ley was accustomed to give ? and why should he be placed in a situation the duties of which he was unable to fulfil ? It was a painful duty to speak thus, but it was a duty he owed to the House of Commons and to the country. Out of doors these matters were much vanvassed. Other appointments in the House had attracted notice ; but this was one especially objectionable, because it affected their everyday duties. Sir Denis Le Merchant might be a very talented man ; indeed, considering themany situations he had filled from time to time, he must be a very clever man—(Laughter) —but what could he possibly know of the business of that House ? In Mr. Hume's opinion, Lord. John Russell had not exercised due discretion in this matter. The business of thatilouse was not to be learnt ins day. Even the simple duty of presenting petitions was not so easily understood; for they often saw Members of ten or twelve_ years standing—how foolish they looked from not knowing the forms of the Rouse! Lord Jowl Russ= justified the appointment, which he avowed as his own act.
He would have been wrong if he had been guided in his choice by a person who had no responsibility., he had himself considered the qualifications of the individual, and it is his conviction that he could not have made abetter selection for the public service than Sir Denis Le Merchant. The objection as to experience answers itself: it may be equally advanced against every person chosen to be Speaker ; for every Speaker, when first chosen isnecessarily without experience of the arduous duties of his office. In this instance an economy of the public money was made by the appointment. When the change in the duties of the Speaker caused the recommendation of the Select Committee that the office of his Law-adviser should not be filled up after its present incumbency, Mr. Booth felt that his continuance in office stood in the way of a saving on the appointment of Sir Denis he Merchant
to be Clerk of the House of Commons, Mr. Booth succeeded him as Secretory to the Board of Trade; and his salary as Law-adviser of the Speaker, 16001. a year, was saved.
PENSION To Mn. Nit-Hems.
Earl FORTESCUE asked the Marquis of lansdowne if it is intended to make any acknowledgment of the services of Mr. Nicholls, formerly one of the Commissioners of. the Poor-law Board, and recently its Secretary. Mr. Nicholls was the originator of the present system of the Poor-law machinery; he was formerly a captain in the service of the East India Company; and was afterwards managing director of the important Branch Bank at Birmingham in connexion with the Bank of England, at a salary of 20001. a year. As the originator of the Poor-law reforms first put in practice in the parish of Soufhwell, he was inducea by Government to leave his lucrative and honourable post—although the Bank of England offered him 2001. a year additional salary, or even a further advance if he thought that not sufficient—and was made one of the Commissioners of the Poor-law Board. On the reconstitution of the Board he became its Secretary with a reduced salary of 15001.; and when in execution of the reduction of salaries lately recommended by the Committee of the House of Commons, his salary was still further reduced, he quitted the public service. At the age of seventy-four, after sixteen years of invaluable services, he retires into private life, not entitled to a retiring pension. Lord BROUGHAM confirmed the above narrative with the amplifications of warm private friendship. The Earl of St. GERMANS joined in the tribute; and the Earl of CARLISLE declared that "of all the men whom he had met in private or public life Mr. Nicholls appeared to him to be the most honourable."
The Marquis of LANSDOWNE was of his own knowledge conversant with many of these details; and he announced that the mode of appreciating the servioes of Mr. Nicholls, and of providing a due remuneration for them, is at present under the consideration of the Government.
NEW WRIT FOR DUNOARYON SUPERSEDED.
Mr. HATTER explained that he had moved the issue of a new writ for Dungarvon under the erroneous impression that Mr. Shell had vacated his seat by accepting the post of Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Tuscany : but he finds hb made a mistake. In Haese//, vol. ii. page 23, it will be seen that such an appointment does not vacate the seat under the act 6th Anne c. 7. Having made a mistake, he requested the House to rectify it by instructing the Speaker to issue his warrant for the Clerk of the Crown to issue a writ of supersedeas. Mr. ROEBUCK raised some objection ; but acknowledged afterwards that he had misunderstood the motion. The ATTORNEY-GENERAL stated, that both by law and by the precedente of the House, Mr. Shell is still Member for Dunebarvon, and therefore there can be no valid election ; so there is no course but to issue the supersedeas.—Motion agreed to.
In reply to Mr. JOHN O'CONNELL, the ATTORNEY-GENERAL said, that Mr. Shell, when he knows how the matter stands, will no doubt resign his seat.
CONSTTIVT/ON FOR THE CAPE COLONY.
In both Houses, petitions have been presented from the Bishop of Cape Town, the Commissioners of the parishes in that city, and from its resident householders, stating that the Legislative Council has lost the confidence of the colonists, and laying before Parliament the details of a constitution. In the House of Peers, Lord WODEHOUSE was the presenter ; in the House of Commons, Mr. ADDERLEY. Earl GREY informed Lord Wodehou.se, in answer to a question, that it is the intention of Government to lay before the House certain papers relative to the establishment of a constitution at the Cape ; but it rennet do so till further papers have been received from the Governor of the colony in answer to a communication lately sent to him.
In answer to questions, Lord Jolter RUSSELL stated that he intends to introduce a measure for carrying into effect the resolution of last session relating to Jewish disabilities, but cannot at present say when ; also a bill on the subject of Ministers-money in Ireland, about Easter. Mr. BAINES intends to bring in a bill for amending the Law of Settlement.
THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT.
Mr. HATTER has given notice, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will make his financial statement on Friday the 14th instant.
CHICORY AND COFFEE.
In answer to MT. GRANTLEY BERKELEY, the CHANCELLOR of the ExCHEQUER said that he does not intend to impose any prohibition oh the mixture of coffee and chicory.