29 FEBRUARY 1840, Page 1


No Minister is disgraced by defeat in support of sound principles or good measures. On the contrary, he may acquire reputation an popularity even in the triumph of factious opponents. The

MELBOURNE Ministers are inured to discomfiture in defending the worst position public men can occupy. Now a job for the Court,

and then a job for themselves—for these they battle. A inure un- scrupulous set of supporters than the occupants of the scats behind the Whig Treasury-bench, no leader of the House of Commons could ever count upon. Nevertheless, the Minister requires ser- vices too discreditable even tbr them. The strength of the Liberal party in the House is about 340 ; but of that number only 158 were prevailed upon to sanction the grant of 50,0001. to Prince ALBERT. On Mr. lImintEs's motion the Ministerial minority was 172; and this week we have to record a third defeat—the numbers being 240 to 212. Of the three, the last was the worst ; for the Government was beaten in an etlbrt to sustain the odious and now thoroughly exposed job by which Lord Moyre,tor.n became Comp-

troller of the Exchequer, and Sir JOHN NEWPORT a pensioner, swallowing up five-sixths of time whole fluid set apart on the Civil List for men of science, letters, and extraordinary services. Mr. LIDDELL moved resolutions stating the circumstances under which Sir Jong obtained his pension of 1,0001. a year, and de- claring that the grant " ought not to be dra....-n into precedent." Lord MourEru proposed other resolutionpi iii which.a covert de- fence of the pension was introduced : they were intended, as his Lordship explained, to assert that remuneration so well deserved as Sir JOHN NEWPORT'S could not be drawn into a precedent for unmerited pensions. This was the formal question put to the House ; but the debate and the division turned upon the real merits of the case, and Members in point of fact were called upon to say whether the arrangement which placed Lord MONTEAGLE in the Comptrollership of the Exchequer was a job or not. The vote says it was a job, and means censure.

The debate was full of personalities. Most of the principal speakers were " on their legs," and slashed each other, if not to their own satisfaction, to the amusement of the public. Let not the reader be alarmed by the length of our extracts front the speeches : they will afford him more amusement, and not less in- struction perhaps, than any previous debate of the session.

Ministers retain their places, of course. It matters little whe- ther they are defeated by majorities of 10, 28, or 104. Indeed, having braved the rebuke of 104, a hostile majority of 28 must seem comparative victory. Marshal SOULT would not retain office an hour after he found himself unable to carry the marriage-settle- ments for the Duke tn.: NEMOURS. The old soldier was far too sensitive : Lord MELBOURNE sets him a better example. His Lordship has established a precedent—sometimes convenient, though not without ultimate danger—for a Minister to disregard the opinions of the Representatives of the People. Lord Mon- ti:11i and Lord JonNejitussin.n affected to think Mr. Iinnouta.'s motion insignificant : yet their newspapers held a different language ,Infore the debate; and the laboured defence of Sir JOHN NEw- Poufs pension by the leader of the House, and two other Cabinet Ministers, prove that it was not considered an unimportant struggle. The Conservatives arc following up their new plan of " active opposition." Lord J0IIN RUSSELL absurdly taunted them with abandoning the plan of campaign announced by Lord STANLEY in the " No-Confidence" debate ; with snatching at small ques- tions, instead of crushing the Government with weighty motions. Now this is what Lord STANLEY said—" Measure by measure, step by step, failure after failure, we will watch, and we will mark, and we will control the Government." The warfare proclaimed was of a general nature, and not limited to what are called "great ques- tions." As the Government has been defeated on three divisions oefore the• close of February, it would seem that the Opposition have kept the promise Lord STANLEY made for them, with tolerable Public interest in the proceedings of Parliament may be said to have begun and ended with the debate and division on Mr. Lin- Dimes motion : a variety of other subjects, however, were brought belbre the Ilouse of Commons. The Irish Corporation Bill satis- fies Sir Roamer PEEL; so, of course, there is little difficulty itt passing it through the Committee. Mr. SHAW and Mr. Sergeant JACKSON made a show of opposition to 801110 portions.; but up- wards of two hundred clauses were dispi,sed of in one evening, and little remains to lie done with this measure.

Another bill, introduced by Lord STANLEY, to amend the system of registering Parliamentary votes in Ireland, encountered Mr.

O'CoNNELL's hostility; and although Lord Mottmern allowed it to

be brought in, he announced his intention to resist its further pro- gress. The avowed reason for the Irish Secretary's Opposition, is the intention of the Government to establish a uniform plan of registration in the three kingdoms. We will not questi...i their in- tentions; but we have no faith in their capacity to frame or power to carry, any thing so comprehensive. Lord STANLEY, therefore,

will do well to persevere with his bill, regard1,-.3s of Lord MilitrETIeS, announcement. The chief alteration it will effect, is to make re-

gistrations annual, as in England, instead of the present practice of holding quarterly courts and giving election-certificates, on the pro- duction of which the holders arc entitled to vote fbr eight years. Lord STANLEY hopes to prevent unqualified persons from gaining

admission to the register, or remaining on it, by annual revision of the lists : but Mr. O'CONNELL protests, that the necessity of fre-

quent appearance in the Revising Barristers Courts will atigment the power of time landlords, and materially interfere with the freedom of election. There is force, we think, in this objection.

Committees of both houses have been appointed to consider the duties on articles imported front the East Indies, and other matters connected with the commerce of the British dominions in Asia. It is to be hoped that the sole result will not be the publica- tion of two huge folios in the course of next autumn. The import- ant questions involved in the inquiry may be considered as "shelved" for the rest of the session.

One of those long debates on Spanish affairs which produce little beyond repetitions of stale facts and opinions, affoided Lord CLARENDON another opportunity of displaying his famibitity with the state of factions awl the recent history of the Penins"ia.

Pugnacious Lord Los.LoNld• was:, as usual, the assailant. lie.

was cleverly supported by Lord ABELDEEN ; to W1.1.:oll Lord Mm.- nounNE scarcely attempted an answer. We congratulate the Premier on the acquisition of the ready Lord Privy Seal: he is worth a score of ponderous Lords LANSDOWNE and prosy Lords DUNCANNON, when any attack is to be parried, or knowledge of affairs required in debate.