10 AUGUST 1850, Page 1


Moan than one little drams,of the nature of an afterpiece has been

performed by,Parliamenf this week ; substantial measures not en- tering much mto the action, but the performanoe being intended to keep up appearances and finish off the session as decently as possible.

Ministers, for example, have been suffered to turn the Roth-

schild affair into a farce for -their own benefit; and Sir John Ro- milly consented to Perform the leading character for that evening. He carried the two resolutions—declaring that Baron Lionel de Rothschild could not sit and vote in the House of Commons until he should have taken the oath appointed by law; and pledging the House to consider the oath next session, 'with a view to the relief of her Majesty's subjects profes- sing the. Jewish religion—or, as the highly critical Mr. Dis- raeli calls them, "Englishmen professing the Jewish religion." The carrying of these resolutions, we suppose, is a Government " suecess ; which is possible, since that which is success to the present Ministers is very apt to consist in failure to substantial interests. As to the Jew question this success mangestly throws it back to whore it stood when ford John Russell was teturned consentaneously with Baron de Rothschild,—indeed, further back, sinee there had not been then, as there is now, by the wish of Lord John Russell and the instrumentality of his Attor- ney-General, a declaration of the law expressly adverse to the claim of the Sew Member. It may be said, that, from its clum- sy construction, the first resolution declares nothing; but, taken in conjunction -with the pantomime which the Member inchoate performed at the table, when taking the oath clipped to his own satisfaction, the- resolution is a declaration that what he then proposed to do is contrary to law. For this state of things Ministers, and Ministers alone, are responsible. By their outrageous procrastination, they have neglected to offer the Lords an opportunity of showing whether recent events bearing upon the subject had not had their natural and proper effect in modifying even their Lordships' opinion.

The other critical little affair, the " collision " between the two

Houses on the Irish Franchise Bill, has been settled by the Min- isterial compromise. In consideration of the enormous concession made by Ministers in the name of the Commons' which raised the county occupancy franchise from eight pounds to twelve, the Peers have waived their own imaginary fifteen-pound franchise, and their objection to the permanent registration of the electors. But after all, the total effect of such a measure must be much less like that sketched outr by Lord John Russell than by Lord Stanley. The novelty in the final debate lay in two episodical incidents. Lord Aberdeen was absent, impelled, says the Tory-Palmerston journal, to betray his party by -his old Free-trade sympathies—he even forget to leave his proxy; which was very hard, as proxies were in request. Lord Stanley was sarcastic on the perpetual recourse of Ministers to proxies ; and it is a curious fact in the Parliamentary history of our dill:, that the effective majority of Ministers in the House of Lords is an absent majority. But Lord Lansdowne shrewdly remarked, that Lord Stanley was cutting him- self off from a resource Which he might one day find convenient in his own case. The unconstitutional hint against an immemorial privilege of the Peers coming from Lord Stanley, has also occa- sioned some amusement.

Several other steps of the week, winding up minor Irish mea- sures, do not finish off the legislation for Ireland in a very im- posing manner. Ministers have succeeded in swamping the bill to cripple the Irish Encumbered Estates Act; but they only carry their Crime and Outrage Continuance Bill—how -pat the sarcasm of that familiar abbreviative !—by sacrificing the landlord and Tenant Bill, which they had patronized. The Landlord Bill was intended to strengthen the hands of landlords in seizing the pro- duce of evasive tenants; the Crime Bill, to aid the Executive.

(Lsrrot -Enrrrox.)

The more earnest Liberals on the Speaker's right were somewhat eager against both bills ; and so Government threw to them the Landlord Bill as a sop to amuse their teeth while the Crime Bill should pass. The bargain has been honourably observed. Poor Sir Charles Wood has come to a climax in his own style. He has been engaged in winding up several of his little financial measures; • and all writers of fiction know that the winding up is the most difficult part of a composition. He had to bring his Stamps Act to a close, and he hit upon a very naive mode of reconciling the House to past and present trouble which his bungling bill-making had occasioned. In its original shape the bill was absolutely and ridiculously unworkable ; but since he was obliged to withdraw it and remodel it, Sir Charles has had the

blessed windfall of more revenue than he expected ; and so he throws out the bonus of more taxes to be remitted by the bill— half a million, instead of three hundred thousand pounds. In a like amiable spirit, Government having by its negligence connived at the ruin brought upon depositors through the failure of the Cuffe Street Savings-bank, Sir Charles makes them a " charitable " present of thirty thousand pounds, towards the defalcations. But Mr. Reynolds is to overhaul that subject next session. The bill which was to have remodelled the whole Savings-bank system, Sir Charles Wood has—" postponed till next session"! The Cus- toms Bill was passing almost without notice, under the impression that it was merely sanctioning formal arrangements, when SirJames Graham detected in it a very curious passage, authorizing the Board of Customs to make new rules, regulations, and orders, "in lieu of some framed under acts no longer in existence "; and, as Sir James

• said, the explanation that this permission was to remove doubts, was anything but satisfactory. Our readers know that there is a dispute between the Board of Customs and the great London Dock Companies, throughout which the Board and its officers have conducted themselves in a very Austrian style. The Companies have taken various steps towards obtaining redress, and this Cus- toms Bill suggests a suspicion that Ministers are legislating at the Companies under cover of a general act-