9 MAY 1840, Page 1


Tim murder of a nobleman of' distinguished family, in the very heart of' London, has scattered the Parliament and interrupted the political arrangements of the week. Lord WILLI:am RUSSELL, the near relative of the Leader of the House of Commons, was put to death in his bed, by unknown hands, in the middle of Tuesday night. Of course, Lord JOHN Russm.a could not appear in his place 011 Wednesday; and his absence was deemed a sufficient reason fin. postponing the further consideration of Lord Sastxr.Ey's Irish Registration Bill, which was fixed for that night, and had attracted a very full muster. It was also agreed to put off all other business of importance during Lord JOHN'S absence : so that the proceedings of Monday and Tuesday alone require to be noticed in this summary. Lord Joie,: Russer.r has introduced two bills to facilitate the acquirement and exercise of the right of' voting for Members of Parliament. By the first, which aims at amending the present mode of enregistering electors, the cumbrous machinery of the 174 Revising Barristers, with their conflicting decisions, would be removed; anti in their stead, fifteeu barristers selected by the Speaker, from a list of forty-five presented to him by the Judges : the fifteen to constitute a permanent court, and make annual circuits: three of the body to form a court of appeal ; their decisions, however, subject. to reversal by Election Committees of the House of' Commons. So much for the new tribunal. The chief advantage which the claimant of the franchise would derive, is deliverance from the trouble, or liability to the trouble, of supporting his claim after it is duly established. At present he is obnoxious to an annual notice to appear and defend his vote; but, once on the register, Lord Jonsz Ressose proposes that his name shall remain there until any circumstances occur to deprive him of his qualification. Frivolous objections will subject those who make them to penalties sufficient to protect the bond fide voter from annoyance.

By the second bill, Lord JOHN Russnr.r. would sweep away a host of pigstye voters, such as enable old Mrs. LAWRENCE to return the Members for Ripon. It is proposed that at least 5/. of the 101. constituting a borough qualification shall arise out of property in a house. Persons having joint-occupancy, sufficient were it divided to give more than one vote, may each vote. Thus the joint-tenants of a Jim rented at 100/, a year may both claim the franchise. Payment of Assessed Taxes not to be required, or of' Poor-rates due within six months of the tune of' claiming. These are the chief provisions of the second bill. The general principle on which the noble mover professed to legislate, was that of giving facility to qualified claimants of the right to vote. " Any thing," said Lord Jones, " which places an unnecessary impediment in the way of a person having a real claim, IS in itself an evil, which the Legislature ought to remove." An excellent principle this ; and so far as the two bills carry it out, they are good bills. Pity that Lord Joux stopped where he did stop. Tbough payment of Poor-rates is an impediment in the way of the real claimant, Lord JOHN only dispenses with the payment of Assessed Taxes : like the pioneer who should cut down saplings,.but leave gigantic trees of the forest in the line of march. Intimidation is a far greater "impediment," but Lord JOHN Russloe withholds the Ballot. However, the two measures are calculated to effect improvements ; and their author should have our thanks were :my thing to comeof them. But nobody entertains the shadow of a notion that either bill will pass. Lord JOHN knows he has not the slightest chance of carrying them through the House of Lords. With what 'object then are they -intro( uced? To throw on the Tories the odium of rejecting them, and to create a false impression of on unreal practical difference between Alinisters and the Opposition: When the Whigs were strong enough to carry such measures, they talked about " finality,' and damped every attempt to remedy the defects of the Reform Act. And now, who expects them to maintain s.:,.]: principles? Will Lord JoHN RussEre, adhere to his measures at tlie expense of his place ? Nothing is further from the thought of any Minister. Then it would scent that the electors are not practically interested, one way or the other, in his Lordship's proceeding on this matter. Lord dons has adroitly placed himself in favourable contrast with Lord STANLEY, whose Irish Registration Bill may be described as a bill of pains and penalties against electors. He has also wisely adopted a less offensive tone towards those who advocate extensive improvements of in the Reform Act ; and in the division on Lord STANLEY'S motion he may reap the benefit of this change. That gained, judging of the future from the past, we believe that the ltegiatration and Right of Voting Bills oill give their author very little trouble.

Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH introduced a motion declaring the expediency of abolishing Transportation and substituting a Penitentiary system for that punishment, in a speech which the select few, who attended a discussion so completely remeved from party and personal excitement, pronounced in every way creditable, and the most successful of Sir Wires sm. i'slossswourn's Parliamentary efforts. The subject was presented in all its bearings and relations. No difficulty was slurred over, les adverse opinion or argument escaped unexamined. His complete mastery of the whole inquiry enabled Sir WILLIAM to anticipate and answer every objection. He was eminently practical. Shunning declamatory rhetoric, he based his statements of the inefficiency of' transportation as a preventive of' crime in the Mother-country, and the horrible atrocities it fostered in the Penal Colonies' on official documents, recording undisputed facts. He proved by tigorss that the cost of erecting prisons and confining offerelors in Noriblk Island and Port Arthur, would exceed the expense of providing prisons at home on the Separate or reformatory system. The Government having put an end to the assignment of convict-slaves, and having resolved, as Lord JOHN RUSSELL announced. to sesp transportation to the settled parts of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land after the 1st of August next, emigration on a large scale is necessary to the colonists of New Smith Wales. Raise money on the security of unsold land, and the means of supplying labour to the colony are provided. This i3 the Archbishop of' DUBLIN'S and Sir WILLIANI Mor.o.swoiern's plan. Instead of felons, they would send to A astralasia an ample labouring population of good character. Let the angry inhabitants of 'Sew South Wales and Van Diemen's Land judge now who arc their iy.,:.,t friends. The Government stops transportation, except to Nortilk. Island and Port Arthur; whence, after a few years, will issue a regular supply of released convicts, not assigned to masters, but at liberty to pursue more congenial occupations than honest industry. Withholding the benefits, the Colonial Office would inflict all the evils of transportation on th3 Australian Colonies. Lord JOHN RUSSELL dwelt upon the expense of Sir WILmesi Mor.Esworern's plan,—though it had been proved to be the lesser of the two : but he kept entirely out of sight the important question whether any' superior advantage belonged to his own plan of imprisenment in distant settlements. He would abolish transportation and the assignment system in the settled parts of the Penal Colonies : and he disputes not the benefit of emigration : but when he ought to come to the point and say what he means to do with his released convicts from Norfolk Island, Lord JOHN RussEr.r. sheers off, and asks what would be done with them in England? The reply is, provile all who deserve and desire it with the means of ensigrating to various parts of the world ; let those who wish to remain, stay in England. There might be some prospect of reforming off:eiders in penitentiaries conducted under the public eye in England; none whatever in secluded and distant lands at the Antipodes. A formidable addition to the limited population of New South Wales would not be felt in this country. These reasons for preferring the plan of penitentiaries at home to dungeons abroad. Lord JOHN RUSSELL found it inconvenient to notice. He preferred to deliver uncalledfor commonplaces upon the theories of punishment. relieved with ' inueudoes, and varied with see-saws oscillating from prejudice to philosophy, from philosophy back to prejudice. The contrast between his vague, roundabout, evasive treatment of the subject, and Sir WILLIAM AI01.ES•Nor.Tn't= lucid. logical, straightforward march to determinate conclusions, WaS clifyitl..3 to the student of Parliamentary tactics. The amen Intent moved, and of course carried, by the Colonial Secretary. was a fit finale to his speech—he got rid of a direct vote by the "previous question." Lord M.snox alone, of the Members who followed Sir WILLI:km Mor.s.swonTni ventured a defence of transportation. Mr. CHARLES BULLER, Mr. WARD, and Mr. Merv, while they earnestly supported the motion' hit the Government with severity for their treacherous seishre of the New South Wales Lvd-futrele ;Ay. VERNON SMITIL Iand Mr. LABOUCHERE attempted a:e1F11:fte; i'llitrtioXY. lirxr truly said, "only made matters worse." ss . -I ABERDEEN 1-49 The Earl of EN has laid ion the talatey Vie House of . _. • '''' ''''' MI .. Lords, a bill for removing difficulties in the admission of ministers to benefices in Scotland. The decorous nobleman leaves the quarrel very nearly where he found it ; for he neither declares the law, nor gives the congregations any substantial power, nor materially alters the relative position of the patrons of livings and the Church Courts. Nevertheless, the disposition to receive the bill as a peace-offering was manifest on both sides of the house; and we should not be surprised to see Lord ABERDEEN carry away the credit of adding a difficult question, which Ministers, after an electioneering purpose waiover, confessed their inability to handle. The Irish Municipal Bill has been read a second time by the Lords ; but the Duke of WELLINGTON announces important alterations in Committee.

The Judges have reported their opinion that the Clergy of the Established Churches of England and Scotland are entitled to the Clergy Reserves in Canada ; and that the Legislature of Upper Canada exceeded their powers in passing the Reserves Bill. That bill must consequently be disallowed. Pleasant intelligence for Governor THOMSON, who plumed himself upon carrying the measure as a piece of consummate statesmanship.