27 JULY 1850, Page 1


Ps.nuemErr is assiduoug in finishing off the fag-end of the va- rious little measures still. on hand; Ministers, in blocking up any new question against an opening at "this late period of the ses- sion"; and the white-bait dinner is set down for a day not distant: signs which make weary Members breathe afresh. The business in both Houses, therefore, las been of that multifarious order which will not be classified : now law, now royal incomes, now Sabbath observance, now national defence—each had its hour of rapid conversational debate. The provision for the Cambridge family has gone forward, of

course. In the Upper House, Lord Brougham renewed a very just remark, that we ought not to grudge paying well for the pro- vision of the Royal Family while we.maintam- the Royal Marriage Act, which prevents them from making good matrimonial matches. Lord Brougham's plea is based on a very cool recognition of trading in marriage ; but it is practically sound, and it may be extended. We should be scandalized if any of the Royal Family entered trade—besides, "regular" traders would cry out lustily : depend upon it, Mr. Sheriff Nicoll would much rather centuple his annual quota towards the new allowance, than have a shop for paletots over the way, with "George Duke of Cambridge" above the window, and the dashing -Prince behind the counter. It is but fair, then, that we should compensate the poor royal people for their alleged privileges. Moreover, we expect them to be ex- -ninnies of munificence ; which cannot be if they have nothing. These royal allowances are in part mere water poured down the golden pump of charity.

The annual bill to suspend the Militia Ballot Act raised a sort of theoretical opposition from Lord Ellenborough ; who affected to want the militia and other appliances of national defence as a corollary to Lord Palmerston's provocative and new propagandist foreign policy, " sympathizing" with insurgent nations, and under- taking to protect English subjects "everywhere." If the sym- pathy means anything, said Lord Ellenborough, it must be such " sympathy " as that which visited our own Canadian frontiers in the Caroline : if it is a sympathy that is to wait for the concur- rence of the King of Naples and the Sicilians, it is humbug,— though magniloquent Lord Ellenborough did not use that exptes- sive epithet. The cumbrous equipage of his Oriental oratory in- ilulgesin a wider circuit and permits itself a longer period in the deliberate and majestic advance towards its ulterior destination. With astute conciseness, Lord Grey denied the enunciation of any " new " policy, and turned his defence, officially, upon the effective state of the nationalresources.

The Peers have been modifying the County Courts Bill; giving to the Superior Courts at Westminster and Assize a concurrent jurisdiction in causes under the value of 501. The alteration has

raised some dissatisfaction, on the ground that attornies have an interest in forcing their clients into the less prompt and more ex- pensive courts, where the practice sanctions larger fees : but the alteration is commended by this, that it offers a check upon the

many patronage judges that have been placed upon the County bench—man selected for the political connexions rather than the judicial qualities.

In the Commons, "Supply" has permitted the ventilation of

"grievances," and among them of various Colonial abuses. The vote for Labuan revived the whole dispute about Sir James Brooke, his trading intrigues, and his piratical assault on unoffencliug Sarebans—so the financial Radicals represent him. Per contra, Mr. Henry Drnmmond insists that the chivalrous Sir James is the victim of a conspiracy basely got up by Mr. Henry Wise, a trader disappointed in making a tool of the too generous Brooke. In re- joinder, letters letters are read, from the aspersed Brooke to "my dear Wise," suggesting things which look very like sharp practice. The sole fact as yet made out is, that we have not got to the hot- tom of the matter. It seems impossible that Brooke and Wise can both be honest; and it tells against Sir James, that Ministers, his patrons, are not forward to lay the whole facts nakedly before the public.

The Metropolitan Sunday Trading Prevention Bill has received an unexpected amount of favour in the House of Commons, as a

tolerable compromise. It is put forward not as an exclusively

Sabbataricui measure, but as a police regulation to secure a day of rest and recreation for the working classes. There can be no doubt

that the working classes are benefited by any measure that can operate to secure them against compulsion of labour on the rest- day ; but wre have no faith in speechmaking explanations of a measure since respectable Members and even Cabinet Ministers have been found to assert that the Factory Act of 1847 was in- tended to sanction shifts and relays. It may be convenient to pro- tect the trader who desires leisure, the public that wishes freedom from disturbance, against the obstinate competition of a grasping minority; but will the bill be used to shut up the poor man's kitch- en the bakehouse, the poor man's wine-cellar the public-house, the poor man's carriage the omnibus ? Mr. Fox was right on these points. There are things which the poor man cannot provide be- forehand ; hot meat, fresh beer, and exercise cannot be stored Over- night. But if these restrictions are attempted, we shall see pre- cisely the same reaction against any Sunday distinction that we note in the case of the Post-office.

The Ceylon scandal has assumed a very ugly look. The Select Committee has presented a report, telling nothing. and withholding the evidenue from the House, but proposing to bring that evidence under the notice of Government, privately as it were, in order to some "sffip" not specified. The Speaker pronounces that such a procedure would be informal ; and indignant Members declare that the Committee, acted on by the Colonial Office, is conniving at the suppression of the most curious and damnatory evidence which convicts Lord Torrington of gross irregularities and tyranny. The " step " is supposed to be the recall of Lord Torrington ; but the scandalous complicity of Ministers is to be hushed up.'

The Chancellor of the Exchequer was accused, on Thursday evening, of unfair and untrue representations as to the circum- stances under which the East India Company had declined the offer of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company to convey mails to Australia : the charge was publicly and directly made, feebly met.

Some question has been made of Sir John Romilly's refusal to give his signature in order to the issue of an injunction against the building for the Exposition of 1851 in Hyde Park : but Sir John does not need a very elaborate defence. The opposition to that site is purely sectional; no ' ease has been made out to establish a pub- lic wrong ; the vexation to rich private persons, if any, will be a thousandfold more than compensated by the advantage to num- berless people in the middlle and working classes ; and the resort to an injunction against the proceedings of an official body was manifestly an afterthought, dictated by the wish for obstruction— the resort to a dilatory court because it is dilatory. The A ttor. ney-General's refusal of his signature seems a very proper exer:. cise of his official discretion.

Tired out with Lord John Russell's good intentions—industrious paviotuq—the citizens of London, in public meeting assembled, authorized their representative, Baron Lionel de Rothschild, Lord John's colleague, to go down to the House of Commons and claim to take his seat for London, offering to accept the oaths so far as he could in conscience. Lord John was expected to follow a course similar to that adopted in the case of Mr. Pease,—moving to dis- pense with the exclusory part of the oath by a simple resol,ntion of the House. This brings the long-delayed question to a crisis: but the independent stop taken by the Premier's indulgent con- stituents shows how intolerable his indecisive and lax conduct had become.