Dante% nub Vrortebings in Varliament.
STATE OF IRELAND.
In the House of Commons, on Tuesday, Mr. Siirrii O'BRIEN drew attention to the state of Ireland ; moving,
" That this House will resolve itself into a Committee for the purpose of taking into consideration the causes of the discontent at present prevailing in Ireland, with a view to the redress of grievances, and to the establishment of a system of just and impartial government in that part of the United Kingdom." He pointed to the late events as proving the necessity for inquiry : the congregation of immense multitudes at eight-and-forty hours' notice, the rising of the Repeal rent from 500/. to 3,000/. weekly, the junction of the middle classes, of the Roman Catholic clergy, and even of members of the aristocracy. All this agitation could not be the work of one man, as some superficial inquirers supposed, lie read a passage from a letter by Dr. Kinsella, Titular Bishop of Ossory, a prelate most moderate in his political sentiments, who, in declining 20 attend a Repeal meeting, admitted that he saw no hope of relief for Ireland except from a Domestic Legislature. That feeling had been engendered in Ireland by the manner in which the country had been governed by a British Parliament. Mr. O'Brien took a retrospect of Irish history, to illustrate the posi. tion that the feeling was caused by no recent act of Government. Before the Union, Ireland was distracted by internal disputes fostered by England. Then came the penal code of William and Mary. Daring the American war, Ireland obtained all the points at issue between the two countries, and relapsed into apathy. The rebellion, fomented by England, was followed by the Union when England's debt of 446,000,000/. (annual charge, 16,500,0000 and Ireland's of 28,000,0001. (annual charge, 1,194,0000 were converted into a joint burden; a difference which no subsequent remission of taxation for Ireland had counterbalanced. Another effect of the Union was to increase absenteeism; which the Irish people expected to be cured by the attractions of a separate Parliament and by a tax on absentees. Another consequence was the consolidation of public establishments ; of which he did not question the propriety, but some compensation might have been made to Ireland : why should not Ireland have some of the finest harbours in the world ? England has nine dockyards, Ireland not one. Of the 6,500,000/. for Navy estimates this year, he calculated that only 10,000/. was spent in Ireland. There was indeed an Army expenditure in Ireland; but he never heard that it was intended by way of compensation. The Irish Exchequer remits to England 25,000,0001. or 26,000,0001. yearly ; the English Exchequer to Ireland, 8,000,000/. Catholic Emancipation was ceded to Ireland in the dread of civil war: for six years it was practically inoperative; for, with one or two exceptions, Catholics as much excluded from office as before, until Lord Normanby's proclamation of equality for all classes. The Catholics form four-fifths of the population of Ireland : he calculated, (for returns were refused to him,) that twentythree Protestants had been promoted to office in Ireland by the present Government, and three Catholics ; against which must be set off the causeless dismissal of two Catholics. Other grievances were inflicted by the Irish Reform Bill: Ireland ought to have 125 to 170 representatives, in order to have a proportionate share in the representation ; in England the electors are as I to 24 of the population, in Ireland as 1 to 100. The Irish had been exasperated by the Spottiswoode conspiracy, and by Lord Stanley's Registration Bill, which the Tories used in turning the late Goverment out of office, saying that the subject would not brook delay—though they had been two years in office without doing any thing! While a Church establishment is maintained for one-tenth of the population, the Catholic clergy are not even provided with residences ; and the miserable grant to Maynooth meets with insulting opposition. If he were a Roman Catholic, he should not hesitate for one moment to become a Repealer. They did not want ascendancy—they wanted only equality. The principal question if the Union were repealed, would be, whether it was dearable to have endowments for all churches or no endowment for any. The present Government, when they were out of power, promised they would take all these subjects into their anxious consideration, and not lose an hour without reforming the abuses of the Church. But two years have they been in office without doing it. Be was rather in favour of endowing the clergy of all religious persuasions. Lord Lyndhurst's declaration of alienage rankles in the minds of the people. They claimed equal corporate reform with England. The management of the Poor-law had been overbearing; and of the Commissioners six were English and four Irish. Government call upon Parliament to pass an obsolete Arms Bill, with new enactments' protested against by the majority of Irish Members. What had Parliament done for Ireland's local government ? what for railways ? Lord Morpeth proposed to guarantee a portion of capital for railways in Ireland ; but the proposition was rejected by the House. For Canada, who rebelled, Government guaranteed a loan of 1,500,000L for public works; and 240,0001. was spent in steam-navigation to the West Indies. The course taken with respect to national education in Ireland had been unproductive of good, for it had disgusted the Protestants of Ireland. Sir Edward Sugden had crashed a proposition for providing a better legal education for the bar in Ireland. A grant for a national museum in Ireland had been recommended and refused. There is no compensation in English appointments for the exclusive nature of Irish appointments : of the Cabinet 10 are English and 3 Scotch ; and in the subordinate appointments under the British Government, he calculated the Englishmen and Scotchmen to be as 491 to 10 Irishmen. Sir Robert Peel had missed the opportunity of conciliating Ireland without conceding a principle. Of the goodness of Lord De Grey's and Lord Eliot's intentions he did not doubt; but, somehow, they had not the power to give them effect. Mr. O'Brien contrasted the government of Ireland, in spite of the majority, with that of Canada by the majority. To other causes of discontent must be added that of general distress, and the influences which tend to the consolidation of farms.
Re contended that the cry for Repeal, though he did not concur in its policy, was not treasonable ; it was merely the expression of despair of obtaining good government. Ministers had given their ultimatum : they had declared that they would force forward their Arms Bill, but that conciliation had gone to its full extent ; and Sir Robert Peel had said that he would go to war with Ireland rather than concede the Repeal of the Union. But it might be forced by other means than war—as by non-consumption of 10,000,0001. of English manufactures. And where would he find the arms to militate against a whole nation ? There were 40,000 Irishmen in the British Army, just as patriotic as the peasants from which they had sprung. The chances of Eng land's failure were as great as the chances of success: and what was her sue. cess ?—widespread and universal desolation. What her failure ?—the glory of England departed for ever. Ireland was the right arm of England's strength ; but in her present condition she was a source of weakness ; and if the French Minister marched an army across the Pyrenees, it would be because the English Government could not safely take away their. troops from Ireland. The way to defeat the machinations of England's enemies, was to redress the grievances of Ireland.
Mr. WYSE seconded the motion ; following up Mr. O'Brien's statement of grievances with further exposition of the same topics. The three points on which to satisfy the Irish people were—the " agrarian" question, for which he recommended public works and " the small tenement system"; the Church question ; and the Repeal question, which he proposed to meet by giving Ireland and Scotland each a local "council" for legislation on local affairs.
Lord ELIOT opposed the motion— Be admitted, sorrowfully, the existence of discontent in Ireland; the existence of grievances—social, however, rather than political and remediable by Parliament : but he could not think that a Committee, at that period of the session, could afford a remedy,—certainly none in which the House would agree. With respect to the appointments of the Government, he thought it had been admitted by one honourable gentleman, at least, on the opposite side, that a Government could not appoint their political opponents; and as the Roman Catholics, it was generally admitted, were for the most part opposed to the Government, it followed that the larger portion of those appointed must be Protestants. Since they had been in office, however, one Assistant Barrister had been appointed, and he was a Roman Catholic ; one Stipendiary Magistrate had been appointed, one reappointed, both Roman Catholics. Mr. O'Brien had asked to what the agitation was attributable ? The question was sufficiently answered by considering that the labouring class was in a distressed condition, and they were told that a Domestic Legislature would be the panacea for all their evils—that poor-rates and taxes would be abolished, and that it would be the revival of their domestic manufactures : let this be considered, and it could be no matter of astonishment that the poor population, on being told such agreeable tidings, should go in masses to hear them. But what acts of Government had justified the agitation ? The law-appointments, which had been so much caviled at, had been made a year ago ; and no show of dissatisfaction was then made. As a set-off against Dr. Kinsella's avowal, Lord Eliot read the pastoral address of the Roman Catholic Bishops in 1830, lauding the promoters of the Emancipation, and exhorting the clergy to labour in furthering the end—the pacification and improvement of Ireland. Four years after, the Archbishops and Bishops declared that their chapels should not be used for any meetings but those connected with charity or religion. How different the language now employed !—as that by Dr. WHale, who defied Government to put down the Repeal agitation ; adding, that if meetings were suppressed in the open air, all the chapels in his diocese should be used for the purpose. He referred to such a document more in Borrow than in anger. Condemning Mr. Smith O'Brien's reference to history as a means ot stirring up the passions of the people, and averring that religious persecution and intolerance of former periods could not be revived, Lord Eliot addressed himself to some of the specific grievances alleged. If the Union had been in some respects injurious to the finances of Ireland, it had been favourable to the trade of the country. From 1822 to 1842 its imports increased by 2,150,1201., its exports by 926,034/. the tonnage of its vessels entered inwards by 3,666,756, outwards by 1,559,046 ; vessels built, by 6,361 tons ; registered, by 421,352 tons. Last year there bad been a falling-off, from the general depression. The individual depositors in savings banks had increased from 43,755 in 1832 to 79,553 in 1842; the amount of deposits by individuals from 1,178,2011. to 2,297,680/. This showed a more provident disposition among the poorer Irish. As to the Reform Bill, it had been brought in by a Whig Government; Lord Stanley at the time challenging proof that its franchise was not as favourable as the English. Population had by no Government been taken as the basis either of franchise or representation ; and of the 105 Irish representatives, not more than ten or twelve attended on the Opposition aide during the session. It was said that nothing had been done for Ireland: last year twenty-three measures were introduced—two of great importance—the Drainage and Fisheries Act, and the Act to amend the Irish Municipal Act, which, without blaming the Government that framed it, was so clumsily constructed as to be in some cases inoperative : in Limerick the old corporation had been restored. The Poor-law was devised by the late Government,—in a spirit, he believed, of pure benevolence ; and they appointed the Commissioners. The Arms Bill, so often discussed, he would not reargue; but he believed it necessary to protect life and property in Ireland. As to the refusal of advances for railways in Ireland, it was very well to say that only the credit of Government was needed; but nothing was so difficult as to obtain repayment of such advances. Be had, however, reason to believe that some of the lines of railway in Ireland might be executed with British capital, if the present state of excitement did not deter the English capitalists from embarking their money in Ireland; and he knew it for a fact, that several speculations settled and determined on had been put a stop to by the apprehensions arising from what he might call the present outbreak in Ireland. It was a bad return for concessions made by Members on the Minis terial side, and by the clergy, in respect of education, to taunt them with having acted in a cold manner. The formation of a Law Society in Dublin was quashed, not by Sir Edward Sngden, but, he believed, by the Benchers and members of the Queen's Inn. As to the Croat mail-contract, Mr. Purcell WAS himself a competitor for the Scotch mails, and the lowest bidder but one : would Scotland have been "insulted" if an Irishman had gained the contract? Such contracts ought to be open to the whole empire. He believed that the present Lord Chancellor was the only Englishman appointed by this Government to office in Ireland ; and he would ask, was there not a fair proportion of Irishmen employed in the public departments of this country ? Lord Eliot made some allusion to "fixity of tenure " • reading Mr. O'Connell's definition of it, and remarking that he had seen no plan of the kind which did not strike at the root of property. Since the commutation of tithe, the tithe-war had ceased; and it' the rent-charge were abolished, the amount would only go into the pockets of the landlords. Besides, nine-tenths of the land belong to Protestant landlords, from whose land the Church-revenues are derived. The gross revenues of the Church are 495,0001.; which, excluding 60,0004 the Bishops' revenues, gives to the 1,400 beneficed clergy an average income of only 3101., out of which 662 curates are paid. The motion could only produce inconvenience: it conveyed a censure on Ministers, implying that the affairs of Ireland had not been conducted with justice and impartiality; and he called on the House to strengthen the hands of Government by rejecting the motion by a large majority.
Mr. CHARLES Woort supported the motion ; enlarging on the fact, that, from whatever cause, the late Government had found Ireland disturbed and left it tranquil, whereas their successors had found it tranquil and now it was disturbed. He condemned Repeal, as injurious to the empire and to Ireland ; but pronounced it impossible to govern that country through the "Protestant garrison," and without redress of grievances. He called for a Government statement of intended measures to meet the exigency.
The debate was adjourned ; and on Wednesday, again adjourned to Friday.
IRISH ARMS BILL.
The House of Commons proceeded in Committee with the Arms Bill, on Monday. Lord ELIOT moved a clause in place of the 9th, avoiding objections to that clause : the new clause permitted licences to be granted at the next General Sessions of the Peace after the passing of the bill, or at any subsequent sessions. Lord CLEMENTS moved to omit words referring to the marking of arms. But, after a desultory conversation, the amendment was rejected, by 128 to 69, and the clause was agreed to.
On the 10th clause, permitting a certificate to be granted at Petit Sessions in lieu of licence should the licence be lost or destroyed, Mr. SMITH O'BRIEN moved an amendment, to authorize the certificates being given by the Clerk of the Peace without cost : rejected, by 69 to 29. Other amendments having been disposed of, the clause was agreed to.
The next clause required the holders of licences to produce them before Magistrates on removal of residence : Mr. PICOT moved to strike out the obligation to produce the document. The amendment was rejected, by 81 to 36. Another, by Mr. M. J. O'CoNNELL, requiring a "statement" instead of "description" of residence, was rejected, by 106 to 36. Lord CLEMENTS moved to reduce the penalty imposed for not obeying the clause, from 5/. to 11.: rejected, by 162 to 66. Eventually the clause was affirmed, by 154 to 65. The next clause was agreed to, and the House resumed; the Committee to sit again on Friday.
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND.
On Monday, the House of Lords went into Committee on the Church of Scotland Benefices Bill. On the 1st clause being moved, Lord CAMPBELL objected, that, on the authority of two private letters from certain Scotch Judges, they were about to declare that to be the law of Scotland which never had been so : and he proposed an amendment restricting the objections of the congregation to spiritual deficiencies or physical defects disqualifying the presentee from the due discharge of his duties in the particular parish. If determined to press the bill, he hoped that Lord Aberdeen would add a clause to reverse the Auchterarder decision.
The Earl of ABERDEEN defended the measure—
Neither he nor any one with whom he bad been in communication had the
least intention of impugning the judgment in the Auchterarder ease: but it was not to be expected that every argument and illustration used by noble and learned Lords in giving that decision was of equal value with the decision itself. Lord Brougham's statement that the bill was an insult to the judicial character of the House, took him quite by surprise. He had consulted more than one of the highest legal authorities in Scotland upon the subject, and he had likewise consulted the Scorch law-writers; and unless the science of law was a farce, he should say that the Scotch Judges must be better acquainted with the subject than Lord Brougham was. As to the general measure, he had no objection to say that, after the 1st clause, he should consent to making the whole of the re, ..ining clauses enacting instead of declaratory.
Lord BROUGHAM rose to redeem his pledge, by showing reasons why St was impossible to support the measure—
Whatever the intention, the effect of the measure was to reverse the Auch terarder decision, and thus to shake the foundation upon which the adminiatration of justice rested. If Lord Aberdeen saw the real tendency of the measure, he would be the last man to do such a thing. The noble Lord said, that however sound the conclusion in that case might be, the reasons were good for nothing. He had gone out of his way to condemn that decision ; and, like all who went out of their way, he lost his way. His noble friend said the House of Lords must be wrong, because the Scotch Judges said so and so. Let the Lord Chancellor or the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench attend to the consequences of that argument. He saw his noble and learned friend (Lord Lyadhurst) was a little alarmed at what might happen when he was sitting in error on appeals from the Court of Exchequer or Common Pleas, or the Quarter-sessions. His noble and learned friend gave hisjudgment ; but what would be his surprise if he were told a week afterwards, by one of the counsel, "Your judgment is an exceedingly good one; but the reason is not worth a straw, because we have had from the Chairman of the Quarter-sessions at Lancaster—(Laughter)—a strong opinion, in which several other worthy Magistrates coincided, that there was no occasion for giving it at all, for the law of Lancaster is totally different "? Lord DENMAN—" Without hearing it argued, after it had been argued here. Exactly so. A Judge of Appeal, when a cause was before him, might take one of three courses : he might either reverse the decision of the Court below, or affirm it for reasons given by that Court, or for totally different reasons. The law of England was made up of the reasons of Judges of Appeal, as well as of their decisions. If their Lordships thought they could with impunity to the law strike out all the reasons on which a judgment had been given, or any of them, they were most fatally deceived, and would be obliged to strike out nine parts in ten of all the judgments which composed the law of England as it at present stands. It had been said that Lord Corehouse approved of the bill : he had received a letter from that learned person, in which he could trace no approval of the bill. The writer stated that his health was in such a state, that he was at the time of delivering his former opinion wholly incapable of bending his mind to the matter; and Lord Corehouse, in that letter, laid down the law upon the subject as it had been laid down by the Lords in the Auchterarder case. The bill might tempt the Scotch Judges to believe that the Court of Session was to be made supreme ; but a more probable result would be, that the Appeal Judges in the House of Lords would in future withhold their reasons of judgment, as the English Judges had for some time:done when the Lord Chancellors cavilled with the reasons for judgments on questions which they had referred to the law courts. Without meaning offence to his noble friend, he had shown the grossest ignorance on the subject, in saying that the Auchterarder decision only declared that the presentee should be taken on trial : the Lords also decided, on the whole question, that the Veto Act was illegal; and in so deciding, they had been bound to enter into the whole question of the power and authority of the Presbytery. The effect of thus " declaring " the law would be, to fan rather than subdue the half-political balf-religious flame which had been raised in Scotland. Ile had a letter from the Moderator of one of the largest Presbyteries in Scotland, who told him that the only party at all gratified by the bill was a party known as "the Forty," who had very little sympathy with any portion of the people.
The LORD CHANCELLOR contended that the bill did not disturb the Auchterarder decision— He had carefully reviewed that judgment, and he could not hesitate to affirm that it was founded on firm and unimpeachable grounds. The Veto law had come directly in issue. But the first clause of the bill referred to the objections, not to the right to decide. It declared that the law of Scotland did not limit the power of objection. Ile believed that such was the law of Scot
land; just as in courts of justice parties were not in the least restricted in their objections : but the clause was limited in its operation by the Sd clause, which provided that the objection should not prevail unless personally directed against the ministerial gifts and qualities—either generally or with particular reference to the parish of the presentee. So far as the grounds of the judgment were concerned, the measure was not declaratory; when it proceeded further than the 1st clause, it became enacting in its terms, and, in providing what should be in future, made no allusion:to what had been. Was there any thing, then, inconsistent with the Auchterarder case in this ?—Nothing. Lord Lyndhurst remarked that the House had not the opportunity of consulting the Scotch fudges as they had the English Judges; and that the revision of the bill by the Lord Justice Clerk was quite regular.
Lord BROUHAM rejoined—
He wished to know if his noble and learned friend was prepared to applythe word " declaratory " to the executive portion of the hill? " No 1" his noble and learned friend would exclaim. (The Lord Chancellor intimated assent.) Well, then, what a state of law was his noble and learned friend about to affirm ! such, he would venture to assert, as never would be discovered in Kamschatka or the South Sea Islands—(A laugh)—that objections may be raised which cannot be affirmed 1—that the Presbytery may determine, but be unable to carry their decision into effect 1—in a word, that the defining part of the law is to be declaratory, and the executive part of it enacting I
Lord Corrmrstem followed up the arguments against the bill— The House would do well to observe the predicament in which they were now placed, when Lord Aberdeen declared his intention to be, to affirm that the judgment had been given on erroneous grounds, while the Lord Chancellor avowed manfully that he did not differ either from the judgment or the reasons for it. Continuing some previous arguments, Lord Cottenham asked, how was the bill consistent with the decision in the Auchterarder Case? "In what book, by what law, do noble Lords find that the Presbytery has the power of going to the parish; and saying to the parishioners, What objections have you' if any, to the presented'' Where is that law to be found ? [ A Peer on the Ministerial benches—" In the act of 1692."1 The act of 16921-1690, the noble lord means: why, that act was repealedivy that of 1711. Then the
i noble lord opposite brings n a bill repealing the act of 1711 as a declaratory act, by a measure based upon the act of 1690! How were the contradictory opinions of Lord Corehouse to be reconciled ?
Lord ABERDEEN answered— Some time back, the measure which he had introduced on the subject of the Church of Scotland had been sent to Lord Corehouse, but not by him, and the noble lord had expressed a favourable opinion of the bill : subsequently the noble lord changed his opinion, and declared that the former one had been given when his Lordship was labouring under considerable bodily indisposition.
Lord BROUGHAM added, at the time to which the Earl referred Lora Corehouse was labouring under the consequences of an apoplectic attack, and was not at all conscious of what he was then saying.
Lord CorrENHAm proceeded—
When the first bill of the noble Earl was introduced, he (Lord Cottenhatn) had suggested that it would require the consent of the Crown. That consent was now given. Why was it given ? If the bill was merely declaratory of the law as it at present stood, such consent was not required. It was because the bill altered the law, because it disturbed the present order of things, and transferred the power from the patrons to the Presbyteries, that the consent of the Crown was required.
The Earl of GALLOWAY supported the bill. He contended that the act of 1711 repealed the act of 1690, and restored patronage to the present patrons, but left the admission of ministers in other respecta in the same form as before ; and he maintained that the bill had nothing inconsistent with the condemnation of the Veto Act, which gave to the people unlimited power of objection without discretion reserved tothe Presbytery.
The Earl of HADDINGTON pursued the same argument, and declared that no man had a greater value for the appellate jurisdiction of the House than the Lord Justice Clerk, a near relative and very intimate friend of his.
Lord DENMAN observed, that the bill might be a very proper measure for settling disputes in Scotland; bat only as an enacting, not a de
claratory important was mportant that the judicial decision of the House should not be overruled by a political majority. If this blow were struck at the judicature of the country, it was impossible to see where it might lead to. Why did they want a declaration of what the law was ? There was only one rational motive for it, and it was not respectful to suggest what it was—that they believed the law to be contrary to what they were going to declare it to be. If they believed the law to be what it was stated to be in the bill, why not leave it to the legal tribunals to carry it into effect ? Why were their Lordships to interpose to make that law which was law, and which, if not law' ought not to be made law, without hearing all the arguments that might be addressed to them on the subject ?
The Earl of ABERDEEN disclaimed all intention of making the bill pass by a political majority ; but contended for the necessity of the measure to prevent the disestablishment of the Church.
On a division, the amendment was rejected, by 42 to 12.
Lord BROUGHAM moved another amendment, which tended to make the clause enactive instead of declaratory : it was rejected, by 38 to 10. The clause was then agreed to, and the House resumed.
CANADA WHEAT BILL.
In the House of Lords, on Tuesday, the Earl of Daimons= moved the Committee on the Canada Wheat Bill ; which he explained and supported with statements not differing from those made in the House of Commons.
Lord BROUGHAM seconad the motion ; not because the measure was a step in the right directionthat is, towards the total removal of cornduties—but because it removed an anomaly.
Earl STANHOPE moved as an aftnandmCnt, that the bill be committed
that day six months— r1911.0t. e. Tne measure ought to have been precededa Parliamentary inquiry : it was W-Par1' said, for instance, that the freight of a quarter of corn from New York to Liverpool would be 15s.; he believed that it would be one-third of that amount ; but the House was called upon to legislate without a sufficient knowledge of the facts. Those who argued that American corn could already be imported through Canada forgot that such importation was in direct contravention of the Cornlaw of last year. It was said that smuggling would not arise ; but there is nothing to prevent what is frequently done already : a ship clears out from Canada, and when at sea meets another ship and takes a cargo of American wheat on board. It was argued, both that the measure gave increased protection to British agriculture, and yet that it would confer inestimable benefits
on Canada ; arguments which could not stand together. He believed, indeed, that any quantity of corn required for the English market could be produced in Canada; and, though he felt a disposition to encourage the trade of so valuable a colony, it must bear equal taxation and other burdens before it could be treated on an equality with an "English county." These measures were only stepping-stones to the general adoption of the Free Trade principles which Ministers avowed : Mr. Gladstone said that the principle was only delayed, for protection could not be abandoned at once! He dared them to attempt it— they would be blown from power like chaff before the wind. For the consequences of their policy, however, Ministers were responsible to the people of the Country; with whom faith pledged at the last election had been broken.
The Duke of RICHMOND should vote against the measure, because it diminished protection to the British farmer— He opposed change for change-sake; and Government had nowhere proved that any class would be materially benefited by the measure. Another objection was, that the bill adopted the principle of a fixed duty; and as to preventing fraud, it was idle to talk of it, when fraud could not be prevented in the English Customhouse, nor under the Grinding Act, nor even in the Postoffice, where the charge is only ld.
The Earl of RADNOR opposed the motion on very different grounds— The notice given to the Canadian Legislature could not be considered satisfactory notice to the English agriculturists. Some people said that the measure would increase protection; in which case he should certainly oppose it : but if, as others said, a great deal more corn were admitted to this country, it would be in an illegitimate, unfair, and absurd way. Lord Dalhousie's speech, however, showed that the measure would have no effect at all : then why thus excite and alarm the country? As to its effect in Canada, it would raise the price of corn to the consumer and exporter by 3s.; it would newly establish _protection : and it was not what the Canadians expected, for in his promise to them Lord Stanley spoke generally and without limitation of admitting corn -and flour from Canada, while the bill only admitted wheat grown and flour manufactured in Canada. Finally, he objected to these constant changes.
Lord BEAUMONT opposed the measure, as a step in the Government progress towards Free Trade principles, as renewing the panic which had been raised by the Corn-law of last year, and as diminishing pro4ection of the English grower by 4s. And he objected to these constant cbanges—these petty but repeated attacks on the agricultural interest : better to be overthrown at once than stung to death by pismires.
Lord WHARNCLIFFE defended the measure, as a compromise between the extremes of protection and free trade, and as a judicious adjustment of duties to the peculiar circumstances of the Canada corn-trade.
Lord MONTEAGLE also defended the measure— It was true that it gave increased protection—a fixed duty higher than the average on corn imported from Canada to this country, and that it would increase the price to the consumer in Canada: but it would establish slued duty ; which he believed would encourage the importation of large quantities of corn from America, causing it to be much cheaper here; while it would promote the settlement of the fertile lands of Canada. It was necessary to redeem a pledge given to Canada, just subdued form rebellion ; and though he saw objections to the measure, he thought them counterbalanced by the good.
Lord ASHBURTON advocated the bill, as a measure of conciliation and of service to the colony. Should the importaticn in future increase too largely, measures might be adopted to remedy that evil ; for he did not consider that there was any fixed principle either in a sliding-scale or a fixed duty ; but he would rather say, let in the corn from Canada and shut out the foreign supply.
Lord TEYNHAN opposed the bill, because it was not a Free Trade 'measure.
The Duke of BUCKINGHAM opposed it, because of the increased importation which it would occasion, because it would introduce smuggling, and because it made a precedent with respect to a fixed duty.
The House divided on the amendment—For it, 25; against, 5'; -majority, 32.
The House went into Committee, and the several clauses of the bill were passed without amendment.
In the House of Commons, on Tuesday, Mr. Burr moved an address to the Crown praying for copies of correspondence between the British and Hanoverian Governments relative to the Stade-tolls
The value of our exports to Germany by the channel of the Elbe is between 5,000,000/. and 6,000,000/. When he first entered office, Lord Aberdeen communicated to the Elbe-bordering States a copy of a despatch by Lord Palmerston, which gave great satisfaction; but iu a few weeks Lord Aberdeen repudiated Lord Palmerston's policy, and appealed to the petty States of Germany for a redress of grievances which he could not himself obtain ! If the States on the Elbe could have settled the question, it would have been settled long ago ; but in the two succeeding years the question had made no progress. He would be the last to deprive the King of Hanover of what was justly his due, either with regard to the English pension to which he clung so degradingly, or to Hanoverian dues ; but he would not allow him, year after year, to levy contributions upon British manufactures which were unjust and highly mischievous to the commerce of the country. Sir JOHN HAMMER seconded the motion.
Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE opposed it— On account of the present position of the question, he abstained from vindicating the general propriety of the course pursued by Government ; but he replied to two or ;three incidental points raised by Mr. Hutt. He admitted that Lord Palmerston's despatch was calculated to be quite satisfactory to one party; but there was no approximation towards a conclusion on the part of Hanover. He was far from admitting that tbere was any thing discouraging in the present posture of the affair. No communication had taken place with the German States which tended to tie up the bands of the British Government ; and Government were exonerated from the charge of neglecting the subject when it was remembered bow the attention of Sir Robert Peel and the commercial departments of the Administration had been occupied by matters relating to commerce. There was nothing to prevent a renewal of the direct negotiations with Hanover during the conlerence of the Elbe-bordering Ste es at Dresden ; but a simultaneous settlement including the interests of other countries would be much inure satidartory than a partial measure. Mr. Macgregor, the British Consul at Elsinore, had attended the conference at Dresden to watch these proceedings; be as expected in this country day by day ; there WSS reason to expect that communications with Hanover would be renewed on his return; but until that took place, it was advisable to defer the adoption of any definitive step.
Mr. LABOUCHERE blamed Government for departing from the principle for the negotiations laid down by Lord Palmerston, who had proved that this country had a right to insist on the reduction of the tolls to a maximum of 1-16th per cent ad valorem. As to the preoccupation of Government, the question was one that concerned the
Foreign department, and he was not aware that that department had been overburdened with business. Mr. RWART and Dr. Bowama likewise condemned the inactivity of Government.
Sir ROBERT PEEL claimed the confidence of the House, as the production of the papers would be prejudicial to the interests of the country— He deprecated the unfair allusion which had been made to the King of Hanover is pension; and contended that the negotiations ought to be conducted quite independently of the relation which had subsisted between the countries, and with the forbearance due from superior power. He admitted that British commerce had some right to complain of the delay which had taken place; but insisted on the policy of including in the settlement not only the claims of other countries, but other questions besides the Stade-duties properly SO called—questions relating to fees and the levying of duties.
Lord PALMERSTON declared the explanation of Ministers most nnsatisfactory— He urged them to produce at least the correspondence which had passed before he left office, and which would show the claims of Hanover and the course then taken by the British Government. As to resorting to force, it would never do to give up our rights merely because the other side insisted on a wrong. Be condemned the course taken with respect to the conference. In 1819, Hanover had declined the jurisdiction of the Elbe-bordering States Commission, because she said that these were not river-tolls but sea-tolls; but afterwards, when England took up the question, Hanover said the Commission was competent to adjust the dispute. The treaty of Vienna settled that all river-tolls should be decided by the bordering States. We must be bound, thin, by their decision, if these were river-tolls ; but if they were sea-tolls, it was wasting time to abide the decision of the conference. If we were bound by the jurisdiction of the conference, we ought to have sent, not a mere spy to watch proceedings, but an accredited Minister. As Sir Robert Peel, however, had stated, on his responsibility as a Minister, that the production of the papers would be inconvenient with respect to pending negotiations, he hoped Mr. Hutt would not press his motion.
After a few words of explanation from Mr. Hoye, who disclaimed personal attack on the King of Hanover, the motion was withdrawn.
POSITION OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON. On Tuesday, Mr. BLEWITT called upon Sir Robert Peel for an explanation. In September 1841, the Duke of Wellington was included in a published list of the Cabinet, with no particular office assigned to him: on the death of Lord Hill, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, retaining his seat in the Cabinet ; be had often acted as the organ of Government in the House of Lords : a few days ago, however, he replied to a Mr. Aluloch, who recommended some redress of Irish grievances, that "he was one of those few men who did not meddle with questions over which they had no control"; to Mr. Espey, the Secretary of an Irish Conservative Association, who sent an address on a similar subject, he replied in similar terms; and formerly to the Paisley deputation, he said that he held no political office. Mr. Blewitt called upon Sir Robert to explain what was really the political and official position of the Duke of Wellington ; and whether or not he was the political servant of the Crown, and liable to official responsibilities? Sir ROBERT PEEL replied, that the Duke was Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies; one of the Privy Councillors immediately honoured with the confidence of the Crown, forming what is commonly called the Cabinet ; and ai such Sir Robert considered him to share in the responsibility of any advice which that Cabinet might give to the Sovereign. As to his replies, they appeared to mean nothing more than that he advised those who addressed Cabinet Ministers to refer to the head of the department to which their grievance belonged. "I apprehend," continued Sir Robert, "that his Grace is overburdened with the correspondence of persons asking advice, and that he has very wisely offered the suggestion by which 1 cannot help thinking the honourable Member himself might profit—(Great laughter)—that persons should not trouble themselves with matters over which they have no immediate control." (More laughter.) Mr. BLEWITT was proceeding to some angry rejoinder ; but, his question being answered, he was called to order.
Mr. DUNCOMBE AND THE STANDARD. On Wednesday, Mr. THOMAS
DUNCOMBE drew the attention of the House of Commons to a breach of privilege committed by the Standard newspaper ; which, in a leading article, falsely charged him and Mr. Thomas Gisborne with having confessed, during the Nottingham debate on Friday night, that "they had hired others to the potential sin, at least, of bribery "; calling them "confessed suborners of fraud and perjury." He moved that Mr. Charles Baldwin, the printer of the paper, be called to the tar of the House on Friday. Mr. GasBORNE remarked, that as to Mr. Duncombe, the assertion was one of pure invention : as to himself, it was rather a case of grois misrepresentation, which he was glad to have the opportunity of contradicting ; but he left the matter in the hands of the House. Sir ROBERT PEEL observed, that the statement was in a leading article, not in a report ; and probably the writer had confounded with what passed on Friday, Mr. Duncombe's former confession respecting irregularities at Pontefract : but certainly the statement was unfounded. He should not oppose the motion, if Mr. Duncombe pressed it; but perhaps he would be satisfied with the testimony that be had elicited. Mr. DUNCOMBE complained that Sir Robert Peel excused the libeller, and threw upon the libelled the odium of calling the responsible party to account. Sir ROBERT PEEL denied that he did so : he only gave the advice which he should act upon in his own case ; for if he were inclined to take proceedings upon every paragraph equally calumnious of himself, scarcely a day would pass without his moving that a printer be called to the bar. Lord Jour/ RUSSELL concurred. Mr. DUNCOMBE declared himself satisfied. Ile should not have noticed the passage, but that he was urged to do so by some of his constituents. Be withdrew the motion.
POSTAGE OF REGISTRATION-NOTICES. In the HOMO of Commons, On Tuesday, Mr. Au LIONDY obtained leave to bring in a bill to alter and amend the act of 6 Vic. c. 18, ; Rased in the present session, regulating the manner in which notices affecting the registration of voters in England mad Wales should be permitted to be sent by post. His object was to correct an error in the former act. The bill, as it passed that Douse, contained provisions making notices of claim and objection sent by post valid ; but the clause bad been altered in the other House. and the Post-office was not provided with powers to act upon the altered clause.
THE COUNTY CORONER'S Beau was committed in the House of Commons,
on Wednesday, after some opposition. On clause 2 Mr. BAIINEBY moved to omit words declaring Coroners' fees and allowances to be inadequate. Mr. WAKLEY opposed the amendment : he was obliged, in the performance of his duties as Coroner, to keep four horses and two carriages, for which he was allowed but 100/. a year. The amendment was rejected, by 41 to 34. Several other contested amendments were mostly rejected ; but the Committee had proceeded no further than the fourth clause, when it was adjourned to Wednesday next.
THE ROYAL ASSENT was given, by Commission, on Tuesday, to the Sugarduties Bill, the Oaths (Ireland) Bill, and seine private bills.
QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY. Neither House of Parliament sat on Thursday, the day on which the Queen's birthday was celebrated.