1 AUGUST 1840, Page 1


As the session approaches its latter end, both Houses of Parlia- ment, like conscious sinners, are working hard to make up for lost time. Not only do the bills before them gallop through stage after stage without discussion, but "flights of new bills," as Mr. WAR- BURTON observed, are introduced nightly, to be sped through all the legislative formalities, and to become parts of our statute-law, whilst most of the legislators are absent, and many of them far away in other lands. On one night of the week, however, Ministers are determined that this work of lawmaking shall pause. On Tuesday, as is now customary, there was " no House." It had been so arranged that no Government business was on the paper for that night; therefore Ministers would not attend. The notices of motion Included sonic matters not convenient for discussion by professing Reformers. There was Mr. Ilutae's motion for house- hold suffrage, for protection against bribery and intimidation, and for the shorter duration of Parliaments—in fact, for a new Reform Bill; and there was Mr. SCHOLEFIELD'S motion for substituting a tax on fixed property in lieu of taxes on production, so as to cheapen commodities and increase the reward of labour ; either of whieh questions might have tasked a higher-gifted Government than ours to handle, then how much more the two together in one summer's night !

ItWe foresaw that the Death-Punishment fill would probably be thrown out by a union of' the Conservatives o ith the Whigs; and so it has come to pass. Lord JOHN Russum. met Mr. KELLY'S motion for the third reading, on Wednesday, by an amendment that the bill be read a third time that day three months; and Sir ROBERT Pen voted with Lord JOHN. Their arguments against the measure may be summed up in a phrase—the pro- priety of delay. So much good had been done by relaxing the se- verity of the criminal code three years ago that we should be sa- tisfied to rest awhile without more. Lord JOHN and Sir Romer maintained that no practical injury is done by the present state of the law, therefore there is no harm in waiting. This opinion was refuted by Mr. KELLY and Dr. LUSH I NGTON by statements of facts showing that criminals often escape, from tile dread of Juries to convict where death may be the punishment. Sir Rouser Pam., for lack of argument, imagined an extreme case of outrage, that nothing short of' death could adequately punish ; and yet it would not be a capital offence under the provisions of Mr. KELLY'S Hill. Though the plausible Baronet usually objects to legislate for indi- vidual cases of grievance, in this instance he invented the griev- ance, which he admitted was too improbable to occur, and then assigned it as a reason for obstructing legislation : he was so de- tertnined to hang his imagined offender, that the escape of the real criminal was overlooked.

Among the curiosities of the House of Commons during the pre- sent week, we must not fail to remark that Lord PA LM ERSTON gave a positive answer to a question on foreign policy, on Thursday. Mr. Hosts was the questioner ; and the information sought respected the accuracy of rumours that troops were to be sent to the Levant. Luckily, the Foreign Secretary was able to give a direct negative to the rumour, and ultimately he did so ; but the habit of evasion had become so inveterate, that it affords a curious study of' this Lord's mind to mark the circumlocution by which he arrived at last at the simple " no." On the same evening, the sante Minister was asked by Sir Ronnar Pram, whether the Quad- ruple Treaty is still in force ? Two positive answers in one night would have endangered Downing Street : after some equivocation, however, the veteran official, when the question was put in another form, did nod assent.

The principles of the Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Bill has been affirmed in the House of Lords by the second reading,

and considered in Committee. Lord MELBOURNE, who ha% charge of the bill, seemed afraid to be held accountable for so large a measure of Church Reform. He threw the whole respon- sibility on the Duke and Sir ROBERT. "Thou can'st not say I did it," was the burden of his remarks to the Bishops, whom he wished to propitiate. He undertook to answer the objec- tions made by counsel to the bill, and was particularly anxious to dispel the notion that this reflom had been gained by agitation. Ile assured the Lords that the god of the Church had been the sole influencing motive of Sir Ronear PEEL, and that popular clamour had produced no effect. As for himself and his colleagues—they knew not ft a., for they were uneonscions of danger. After the matter had been thus introduced by Lord MELBOURNE, the debate was kept up by the Bishops ; who argued one against the other. The proverb of the divided house must have escaped their memories, or they would know the impolicy of exhibiting such disunion. The Archbishop of CANTERBURY, in his anxiety to remove the charge of treachery to the Church, de- clared, in contradiction of Lord Miimme axe, that he only yielded from necessity. These endowments were indeed sinecures, but he assured his right reverend brethen that he would have retained them all for the Church, and procured more had he been able. The Bishop of WINCHESTER Illade a display of all the good things the Church was going to lose, and worked himself to a climax of astonishment and horror at such confiscation. Lord LaerrtstroN, inappropriately enough, called these Greenwich Hos- pitals of the Church "nurseries of learning and pure divinity": the institution at Greenwich might with similar propriety be called an infant school. The most marked feature of the first night's debate was the declaration of Lord HAnnowny, "that the rights of' property of every kind subsisted by virtue of a convention of society, and ought to exist only for the benefit of society." We have indeed fidlen on strange times, when a Radical doctrine like this is announced as an article of faith by a Tory of the old school in the House of Lords. The declaration from such a quarter, that property has its ditties as well as its rights, will be little relished by the NnweasroEs, the Wusleoretrns, and their cogfec'res, who contend for the privilege of' doing what they like with their own. On the second night of the discussion, when the House went into Committee on the bill, the squabble among the occupants of the clerical bench became still inure animated. The Bishop of EXETER accused the Primate of want of fair-dealing, and of having con- spired with the Duke of WELLINGTON and Earl GREY to weaken the Church-establishments. The Duke was obliged to come forward to settle the dispute; and, eertes, the old soldier made short work with it and the churchmen. While he declared his opinion of' the necessity of maintaining a national church for the religious instruction of the people, he, in effect, east aside all distinctions of faiths and creeds for the State, though for himself he knew but one true religion : the Church having been admitted to possess dormant funds, it would be ridiculous, he observed, to expect the nation to supply further means for spiritual instruction until those funds were employed. The Duke's remarks on this occasion were stamped with good sense, and with that open straightforwardness which is his proper characteristic and with a vigorous perspicacity, which showed no trace of recent illness or advanced age. The Lords cheered every sentence, though each one of them was enough to make the high prerogative fathers of the Church quake on their seats. The Bishops are not wise in their generation, or they would have put the best face on the mat- ter of Church Reform, and have given up, with an appearance of willingness at least, what they must have known could not be re- tained.