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XI.-CHRONICLE OF THE SESSION OF PARLIAMENT, 1863.
[26-27 Victoriæ.] The Fifth Session of the Sixth Parliament of Queen Victoria Feb.
was opened by Royal Commission. In the Speech was an. 6.
nounced the approaching marriage of the Prince of Wales to the Princess Alexandra of Denmark; that the Greek crown had been offered to Prince Alfred and declined; and that the protection of the Ionian Isles would be resigned, in order that they might be incorporated with the kingdom of Greece whenever a stable government had been organized. It next praised the patient endurance shown by the manufacturing population of the cotton districts under their severe privation. It stated that the neutral position between the contending parties in the United States would be maintained; that the commercial treaty with France had been productive of great benefit ; that a similar treaty had been concluded with Belgium; and that papers would be laid before the Houses relating to transactions in Japan. The Address in the House of Lords was moved by Earl Dudley. The Earl of Derby, approving of many parts of the conduct of the Ministry, accused them of being tardy in refusing Prince Alfred to the Greeks, and of being hasty in ceding the Ionian Islands. In the House of Commons the Address was moved by Mr. Calthorpe. Mr. Disraeli questioned the propriety of allowing British subjects to engage in the service of the Emperor of China against the Taepings as likely to lead us into a war, and also deprecated the cession of the Ionian Islands. After a reply from Lord Palmerston the Address was agreed to, as it was also in the Lords, without a division. Feb.
(COMMONS.) In reply to questions, Lord Palmerston stated
that the Ionian Islands were not a British possession, but only 10.
under British protection; and that the offer to give up the protection had only been made on certain conditions. Feb.
(COMMONS.) Mr. Peacocke moved an address to the Crown, 13.
praying that no sales of Crown lands within fifteen miles of
the metropolis should be made which would in any way affect forest rights or facilitate inclosures. After a slight discussion it was carried by a majority of 113 to 73. Feb.
(COMMONS.) Mr. Cowper introduced a Bill for making a
new street from Blackfriars Bridge to the Mansion House, 16.
giving the construction to the Metropolitan Board of Works; which was objected to on the part of the City. Feb.
(LORDS.) Earl Russell, in reply to the Earl of Derby, de
fended his conduct in the dispute with Brazil, which, he said, 17.
had refused an investigation as to the plunder of a wrecked ship, and had refused redress to certain naval Officers who had been treated with indignity. Feb.
(Commons.) Lord Palmerston proposed resolutions for pro
viding for the establishment of the Prince of Wales; 40,0001. 19.
per annum from the Consolidated Fund, together with 10,0001. for the Princess; on whom would also be settled 30,0001. a-year in case of the premature death of the Prince. Feb.
(LORDS.) Lord Ellenborough introduced the subject of
Poland, and hoped that her Majesty's Government would 20.
express their opinion to Russia of the cruelty of the conscription of Jan, 21, Lord Russell agreed that the conscription was
carried out in a way to drive an unhappy people to despair. This he had represented to the Russian minister here. Feb.
(COMMONS.) Lord C. Paget, in Committee, moved the Navy
Estimates; the money vote, he stated, was proposed as 23.
10,736,0321., a reduction from the previous year of 1,053,2731. ; and the number of men, 76,000, the same as last year, Feb.
(COMMONS.) Mr. Hennessy moved an address to the Crown 27.
on the subject of Poland; not asking for a hostile intervention,
but for an expression of sympathy. After some discussion, Lord Palmerston said that no doubt the Treaty of Vienna had been systematically violated; that the late act of the conscription had provoked the outbreak; it was a barbarous act, a cruel, political piece of tyranny, under the pretence of a military measure. The motion was withdrawn. March (LORDS.) The royal assent was given by commission to the
5. Annuities Bill for the Prince and Princess of Wales. (Commons.) Mr. Cobden made a vehement attack on the Navy Estimates, urging a large reduction; he was replied to by members on both sides of the House, and the Estimates were agreed to without a division. March
(Lords.) The Earl of Dalhousie noticed the insufficiency
of the City police, on the occasion of the royal procession pass9.
ing through the City streets, and suggested the desirableness of amalgamating the City force with the Metropolitan police, with which other lords concurred.
(COMMONS.) Sir G. C. Lewis brought forward the Army Estimates, which were 15,060,2371., a million less than in the previous year; the number of men being 148,242, a reduction of only about 4000; the number of men was agreed to, and some other of the items were voted. The Malt Duties Bill was read a third time and passed. March
(Commons.) The Affirmations Bill, for admitting evidence 11.
from persons declining to take an oath, even if sceptics or
infidels, but subject to objections as to credibility, and to punishment for wilful falsehood, was thrown out on the second reading by 142 votes against 96. The Security from Violence Bill, introduced by Mr. Adderley, inflicting whipping as part of the punishment in cases of violence to the person, was read a second time, after a division of 131 to 68. The Gardens in Towns Protection Bill, the London Coal and Wine Duties Continuance Bill, and the Thames Embankment (North Side) Bill, were also read a second time. March
(LORDS.) On the second reading of the Bill for the new 12.
metropolitan station of the Great Eastern Railway, much un
easiness was expressed at the way in which railways were proposed to be brought into the heart of London, and suggestions made that a definite system should be laid down by government. Earl Granville adopted the motion of Earl Grey for postponing the reading for a fortnight, in order to have the report of an officer of the Board of Trade.
(COMMONS.) A motion of Mr. Lindsay's, against building wooden ships to be cased with iron-armour plates, was rejected, after a long debate, by 164 to 81.
(LORDS.) The Births and Deaths Registration (Ireland) Mar. 13.
Bill was read a second time. (COMMONS.) Sir De Lacy Evans brought under consideration the propriety of amalgamating the Metropolitan and City of London police establishments, adverting to the accidents in the City, and contrasting the state of things east of Temple Bar with that of the west. Sir
George Grey believed somo alteration of the law was necessary to
(LORDS.) The Salmon Exportation Bill was read a second
time, and the Malt Duty Bill read a third time and passed. (Commons.) Mr. Cochrane moved for copies of correspondence relating to the affairs of Greece, which he asserted would show that the conduct of the British government had been neither just nor generous. Lord Palmerston defended the conduct of the government, and promised, if the motion were withdrawn, to lay before the House further papers when received. The Naval Coast Volunteers Act Amendment Bill was read a third time and passed. March
(Commons.) Mr. Somes moved for leave to bring in a Bill 17.
for closing public-houses on Sunday, which was given after a
short discussion by 141 votes to 52. A Bill was introduced by Mr. Cowper for the Embankment of the Thames, South Side, empowering the Metropolitan Board of Works to defray the cost out of the Thames Embankment and Metropolitan Fund; and the Post Office Savings' Banks Bill was read a third time and passed. March
(Commons.) The Tobacco Duties Bill passed through Com
mittee after the rejection of an amendment proposed by Mr. 19.
Ayrton; as did also the Corrupt Practices at Elections Bill. March
(LORDS.) Lord Campbell called attention to the question 23.
of acknowledging the independence of the Southern Confede
ration of America, urging that it was time the recognition should be made, and quoting precedents in favour of such a proceeding. Earl Russell said if there were anything which could be justly done to end the war in America there was not a single person in the country who would not be glad to do it; the offer of mediation by France had been repulsed, it was therefore our duty to stand still and wait. Mar. 24.
(Lords.) The Salmon Exportation Bill and the Post Office
Savings Banks Bill were read a third time and passed. (Commons.) Mr. Hubbard moved a resolution that the incidence of an income-tax should fall upon net income, and that the net amounts of industrial earnings should be subject to such an abatement as may equitably adjust the
burden thrown upon intelligence and skill as compared with property. The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposed the resolution, declaring MIr. Hubbard's plan to be impracticable. The resolution was negatived by 118 to 70." The Partnership Law Amend. I ment Bill, after a warın discussion, was read a second time, after a division of 39 against 56 in its favour. March
(Lords.) The Lord Chancellor introduced a Bill for selling
the advowsons of a certain class of livings in his gift, and with 26.
the proceeds to increase the stipends of the incumbents. The scheme met with general approval, and the Bill was read a first time.
(COMMONS.) The Civil Service Estimates were considered in Committee. The Corrupt Practices at Elections Bill was read a third time and passed; the Oaths Relief (Scotland) Bill, and other Bills were advanced a stage. March
(Lords.). The royal assent given by commission to the
Tobacco Duties Bill, the Union Relief Aid Act Continuance 27.
Bill, and several others. The Lord Chancellor's Augmentation of Benefices Bill was read a second time.
(Commons.) Mr. Forster called attention to the fitting-out in our
ports of vessels of war for the Confederates in contravention of the Foreign Enlistment Act. The Solicitor-General replied to Mr. Forster that the Government had acted with good faith towards the United States; they were anxious to enforce the law, but they must have legal evidence of its violation before they could act. Lord Palmerston contended we had done everything the law enabled us to do, and that the Northern States had no just cause of complaint. The Savings' Banks Act was introduced, and then the House adjourned to April 13. April
(Commons.) Portions of the Civil Estimates were passed 13.
through Committee, as also the Local Government Act. In the
Telegraph Bill certain amendments were made, and new clauses added. April 14.
(LORD.) The Augmentation of Benefices Bill was referred
to a Select Committee. (Commons.) The House adjourned, without proceeding to business, as a mark of respect to the memory of Sir G. C. Lewis, who had died on the previous day. April
(Commons.) Sir M. Peto moved the second reading of the 15.
Burials Bill, by which the church graveyard was to be open to
the performance of burial services by Dissenters. On a division it was rejected by 221 to 96. Mr. H. B. Sheridan introduced a Bill for the appointment of stipendiary magistrates in towns of 20,000 inhabitants and above.
(LORDS.) The Mutiny Bill and the Marine Mutiny Bill were April read a third time and passed. Lord Malmesbury thought the 16.
Ministry right in declining the crown of Greece for Prince Alfred, but wished to know why they had authorized the proclaiming of Prince William George as King without waiting for the consent of the King of Denmark? He condemned also the cession of the Ionian Islands, of which a worse present could not be made to the kingdom of Greece, while Corfu was essential to us as a port in time of war. Lord Russell replied that the candidature of Prince William had received the consent of the King of Denmark, the choice had been approved of by the Emperor of the French, and would not be disapproved of by Russia ; that ever since Greece had become a nation the Ionians had desired to form a part of it, and it was not the policy of this Government to enforce a connection which they wished to sever after having obtained the consent of the other Powers to the relinquishment of the Protectorate. Lord Granville moved for a Committee to inquire into the various Railway Bills before Parliament, in order that none might be passed which would interfere with the future adoption of a comprehensive plan of metropolitan railway communication.
(COMMONS.) The Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced his Budget, He observed that the revenue of the past year had exceeded the estimate by 583,0001. The estimated charge for the coming one was 67,749,0001., and the estimated revenue was 71,490,0001. In addition to the surplus thus shown he 'proposed to equalize the duty on chicory and coffee, and of certain taxes on licences with which he proposed to charge clubs selling wines, spirits, and beer; and the withdrawal of the exemption from income-tax of corporate trust property and charitable endowments ; which would give about 133,0001. more. With this he proposed to repeal the small charges on mercantile transactions, including the stamp on bills of lading; tlie income tax would be reduced by 2d. in the pound, and incomes below 2001. relieved to the extent of 601. a year; the duty on tea would be reduced by 5d. per lb.; these reductions he estimated would amount to about 3,313,0001., and he calculated a surplus would
be left of about half a million. After a short discussion, the resolutions were agreed to and ordered to be reported. April
(COMMONS.) Sir G. Grey moved the second reading of the
Prison Ministers Bill. It was opposed by Mr. Newdegate, 20.
Mr. Whalley, and others, as a concession to Roman Catholics, and supported by Mr. Henley, Mr. Disraeli, and Lord Palmerston; it was carried by 152 to 122. The Assurance Registration (Ireland) Bill was read a second time, and the Gardens in Towns Protection Bill a third time and passed. April
(COMMONS.) Sir George Grey obtained leave to bring in a
Bill for the amalgamation of the City of London Police with 21.
the Metropolitan Police. It was subsequently withdrawn as requiring certain notices, which had not been given. April
(COMMONS.) The second reading of the Innkeepers' Liabi22.
lity Bill was agreed to. The Borough Residence Uniform
Measurement Bill was read a second time. The Marriages (Ireland) Bill passed through Committee. April
(LORDS.) The Marquis of Clanricarde drew the attention 23.
of the Foreign Secretary to the seizure of British ships in the
West Indian waters by Federal cruisers. Earl Russell said, as to one case, that of the 'Dolphin,' he had been informed by the law officers of the Crown that the Americans were in the wrong. He intended to bring this case before the American Government, and he had no doubt they would make reparation if any wrong had been done.
(COMMONS.) Mr. Roebuck alluded to the same topic ; Lord Palmerston said the matter was of a very grave nature, and was receiving due consideration from the Government. A grant of 50,0001. was voted towards the memorial of the late Prince Consort, moved by Lord Palmerston and supported by Mr. Disraeli. In a Committee of Ways and Means, several items of the Budget were then agreed to. The Stock Certificates to Bearer Bill was read a second time; the Bakehouses Regulation Bill passed through Committee; and the Vaccination (Ireland) Bill was read a second time. April (LORDS.) The Qualifications for Offices Abolition Bill was,
24. upon the motion of the Earl of Derby, rejected by 69 52.
(COMMONS.) Mr.Horsfall called attention to the seizure by the Goverment of the Alexandra, at Liverpool, on the ground of a violation of the Foreign Enlistment Act. The Attorney-General said that the matter was for the decision of a court of law. A long discussion followed, and the subject dropped. April
(LORDS.) Earl Russell stated that on the capture of the 27.
Peterhoff the mail-bags, with the seal of the Postmaster
General, had been forwarded to Mr. Archibald, the British consul at New York, who demanded that they should be forwarded to their destination; but the Federal authorities insisted that the bags should be opened. Lord Lyons wrote to Mr. Seward stating that this was contrary to his letter of Oct. 31. Mr. Seward asked for time to consider. Subsequently the Supreme Court had decided that the bags were to be opened, the letters of a bonâ-fide nature sent to their destination, and those relating to the cargo referred to the Prize Court. Mr. Archibald refused to concur in this, and the bags had not been opened.
(COMMONS.) In a Committee of Ways and Means, Mr. Jolliffe objected to the item requiring a licence for clubs; the Chancellor of the Exchequer defended it; after much discussion the resolution was carried by 143 to 111; and the other resolutions were passed. The Sayings Banks Bill was read a second time.