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viding for the clergy of the colonies. I they went to the first teacher they could With respect to the grant of 1813, it was meet with. He believed the petitioner to made that ministers, whose income did not be a well meaning, but very much deluded, exceed 701. a-year, might receive an ad- man, having a mind open to suspicion, dition through the society. At that. pe- and a vehement temper. The right rev. riod, lord Bathurst agreed to recom- prelate then read an extract of a letter mend the grant to parliament. In 1820, from Dr. Inglis, bishop of Nova Scotia, in consequence of representations made dated February 11th, 1826, stating his to this country from Nova Scotia, the reasons for sending the petitioner home, grant was extended; and it had since and describing him as speaking so harshly been, on the same account, increased from of other persons, that it was impossible he time to time. Whatever the noble lord could be of any use. He had been tried might think, it seemed to him that in two or three situations, and had failed these grants were judicious: they were in all. It was on account of his having given to support religion in North Ame- displeased both his ecclesiastical superiors rica, and not for the support of the society. and the civil authorities, that it was found As to what the petition stated about impossible to keep him in that country.-. churches not being built when clergymen Whatever blame might attach to the prowere appointed, the increase of the popu- ceedings of the society, he was willing to lation rendered more clergymen necessary, bear his full share of it: he denied that, and one had always been appointed when on the part of the society, there was any ever it had been represented that a church lavish expenditure of public money. In was built. The average expense of build- fact, the society was desirous of being ing a church there was probably from relieved of that part of their duties, which seven to eight hundred pounds, and it exposed them to such an imputation. A sometimes happened, that the people who proposal of this nature had been made to wanted a pastor had not been always able government a few years ago, and it was to build a church. Some of the people only owing to some peculiar circumwere very indigent; and being attached to stances of the times that it was not acthe religious principles they had always cepted. It should be remembered, that followed, were willing to submit to priva- the society had very large concerns in the tions for their sake. Under such circum- East, which had nothing to do with Amestances, he thought it was right to grant rica, and that the greatest portion of its them assistance in building a church. revenue was applied to defray the serThese churches might be longer in build- vices in the former. The expenses of ing than was desirable; they might re- management fell entirely upon the primain shells after the time announced for vate funds of the society. their completion ; but, at present, he Lord King said, that the real question believed, that all the churches stated to be to consider was, whether the society did built were in a fair way of completion. or did not mismanage the funds it received There had been 101 churches built in from the public. He would, on Friday next, Nova Scotia, twenty were now building, move for a committee to inquire into the and some progress had been made in conduct of the society. erecting twenty more. The number of Earl Bathurst said, there was no ground clergy was not proportionate to the num- for the imputations which had been cast ber of churches; for, in many cases, they upon the society. From every opportudid duty at two or three churches; and nity he had had of examining into its it was to them an increase of labour, but conduct, he could bear witness to its zeal, not of emolument. He must also state, probity, and discretion. The service of that there were a number of persons who North America constituted but a small would follow the church of England, part of its duties. The society held an being attached to its doctrine and dis- extensive correspondence with all parts of cipline, but there was a want of the means the world, and the charge of 6001. a year of building churches; and therefore they was, in his opinion, very moderate. The went to the Dissenting chapels.
The fact noble lord had referred to measures which was, that the increase of Dissenters arose, he (lord B.) had suggested, when he was in a great measure, from the want of Secretary of State for the Colonies; but churches of the established religion; the fact was, that money had been adwherever the people found no such church,. vanced on that service prior to the period
alluded to. The noble lord had argued, , all that was hateful and impure in superthat as the public bore so large a portion stition. It was clear that the utmost of the expense, no new missionary ought range should be given to such a society. to be sent out until the people of the After all that could be done, a vast portion colony had expressed their want of a of that territory would remain buried in the spiritual teacher, and that they should darkness of superstition and idolatry. As then bear their portion of the burthen of far as he was acquainted with the measupporting him. But he would remind sures taken for the mitigation of that the noble lord, that when an establishment deplorable state of ignorance in which the of the church of England was formed for Indian empire was plunged, they were North America, the government forgot to highly valuable. Their prejudices were form any provision for the support of the not insulted wantonly, but the pure spirit clergy, and for the building of churches, of Christianity was insinuated in a way the or of places of residence for the ministers. most likely to conciliate and improve. It was owing to the exertions of the For his own part, he could not regard society that these objects had been ac- the exertions of this society in any other complished. The noble lord had said, light than as indispensable preliminaries that in every parish in North America a to those civil immunities and advancomplete provision had been made for the tages, which it was the duty as well as the support of the clergy, by appropriating to interest of this country to bestow upon her their service one-tenth of all the waste colonial possessions. The labours of that lands. The proportion set apart for this society were calculated to prepare their service was not one-tenth, but one-se- minds for those benefits which it must be venth ; but then, it must be recollected, the desire of every man to see them posthat the lands so appropriated were per- sess. fectly unproductive. He was perfectly Ordered to lie on the table. satisfied that 2001. a-year was a small sum to induce any clergyman to submit to a
CORPORATION AND Test Acts.] banishment to North America; and he Lord Holland said, he rose to present a had found it difficult to procure fit persons petition, numerously and respectably for so inadequate a remuneration.
signed by the Protestant Dissenters and Lord Calthorpe said, that, from all he other inhabitants of Norwich, praying for knew of the society, it had no reason what. a repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. ever to shrink from any inquiry that might He had several other petitions of a similar be instituted into its conduct. He should description. It was not his intention, in rather be the advocate for the inquiry pro- presenting them, to anticipate any discusposed; but he thought the House, after sion which was likely to arise when the what they had heard from the noble lord most important subject to which they reopposite, must be satisfied, that it would lated should be brought before their lordbe dealing most unsparingly to refuse to ships. It had been his fate for twenty years judge of the real merits of the society, to present similar petitions. His feelings merely upon what had passed in that on those occasions had not been different House. With respect to the proceedings from what they were at the present moof the society in North America, he was ment with respect to the merits of the by no means sufficiently informed to speak petitions, and the course which ought to in a satisfactory manner; but from what be pursued. It had ever been his opinion, he did know of the general management of that the prayers of those petitions were the funds by the society, he should be in- founded upon justice, policy, and reason: clined to think that its resources were it had always been his conviction, that applied in North America usefully, bene- the persons interested had claims upon ficially, and with judgment. There were the indulgence, and even upon the gratia hundred millions of individuals who had tude, of the government. Hitherto he had claims upon this country, and when this presented those petitions doubting of any was considered, the House might form great advantage in presenting them; but some idea of the immense field of labour now, when he looked to the votes of the on which the religious societies had entered. Commons of England, he did say that he They were diffusing spiritual assistance to presented the petition with a perfect feelpeople who were living, not in the practice ing, that the time was not far off when this of harmless immoralities, but in habits of great measure would receive the sanction
of the parliament. He believed that the turned his attention, most commendably, other House was, at that very moment, to the improvement of that portion of the employed in considering the best mode in law, and he carried certain amendments which they could carry their object into into effect, which had greatly simplified execution. Upon that point it would ill the laws upon this subject. But it was become him, at the present, to offer any impossible to effect all his object at once, remarks. He should accept any conces- and there therefore remained a large desion made by parliament towards the scription of statutes, relating to personal attainment of the object which the peti- violence, scattered over the wide surface tioners had in view; but he should not of the voluminous collections of laws, and consider that object fully attained, unless which might, with the utmost advantage, the petitioners procured that which he had be brought under one head and title--the always recommended them to pray for, and title of the bill which he then held in his for which Mr. Locke had strenuously ad- hand, for consolidating the laws relating vised them to contend-absolute liberty-- to offences against the person, Those just and true liberty-equal and impartial laws were fifty-six in number. They liberty--a complete equality of civil rights, commenced in the reign of Henry the 3rd, Ordered to lie on the table.
and terminated in that of his present ma
jesty. Their lordships would find, in the CRIMINAL Law.] The Marquis of preliminary part of the act, an enumerą. Lansdowne moved the order of the day tion of the statutes which it was proposed for the second reading of the two bills to repeal, for the purpose of re-enacting which he had introduced for the consolida- them in a more simple form. In the act tion and improvement of the Criminal-laws. he should first advert to, their lordships He thought it right in the outset to state, would find, in the first instance, that petty that although he was strongly satisfied of treason would hereafter be made the same the utility of the bills, he would not have as murder. There did not appear any attempted any improvement of the Crimi- longer to exist a necessity for keeping the nal-law by propositions of his own, if he offences separate. The only effect of had not recently been in a situation which keeping them as separate offences had enabled him to obtain that information been, to invest the parties charged with and assistance, which alone encouraged petty treason with certain privileges with him to take the subject into his hands. respect to challenging witnesses, and He had been induced to proceed in his which they would not have had if they object, by being in communication with had been indicted for murder, When the intelligent and learned gentleman who they recollected that petty treason was filled the office of under-Secretary of only murder aggravated by some cireumState for the Home Department (Mr. stances-such as its having been perpePhillips), and with another learned gen- trated by a wife against the husband, or tleman, who had devoted much of his at- by a servant against the master-their tention to the improvement of the tech- lordships would think it most extraordinical language of the law, and who, in nary, that a person so accused should some acts recently passed, had effected have any advantages, which the common the most important improvement, by con- murderer was deprived of. The only instructing laws, so that their meaning was convenience which could arise from the made accessible to the capacities of almost proposed alteration of the law would be, every individual in the country.—He the loss of certain forfeitures by the criwould shortly state the substance of both minal. By section the third, an accessary the bills, which he proposed should pro- after the crime of murder would be liable ceed pari passu through their different to be transported ; at present he was stages. The first was a bill to consolidate liable only to imprisonment. By section and amend the statutes relative to offences eight, justices of the peace were enabled against the person, Their lordships would to commit for offences beyond the sea ; recollect, that some years ago a discussion which heretofore could be inquired into had taken place in that House and only by the privy council. A very reamongst the public, with respect to the markable case, that of general Wall, state of the Criminal-laws. The right would illustrate the point to which hon, gentleman who then and who now he was calling their attention, The filled the office of Home-secretary, had general was executed under very peculiar
circumstances many years ago; and in present, the law made a distinetion bethat instance the inconvenience was ex tween the two cases. The 16th section, treme, from the necessity of carrying on he conceived, their lordships would think the inquiry before the privy council, in a great amendment. It was to make the consequence of the offence having been concealment of a bastard child a subcommitted in a distant country. He pro- stantive offence, instead of requiring that posed that in future all such inquiries it should be preceded by an indictment might be carried on by justices of the for murder ; which was necessary as the peace. — He now came to the crime of law at present stood. By the twentieth manslaughter. As the law now stood, if section, it was proposed to make a change in a person were killed under circumstances the crime of abduction, by rendering it which led to a conviction of murder, but criminal to abduct any female not only posdid not die till he reached England, the sessed of property, but having any interest criminal might be tried in England; but whatever in property. As the law now this was not the law in cases of manslaughter. stood, the heiress to the greatest proHe proposed making the law in cases of perty in the kingdom might be exposed manslaughter the same in this respect as to abduction with impunity. The twentythe law against murder. By section 12, first section introduced a clearer definition he proposed that all cases, in which a per- of that part of the law which related to son should be killed by another in order to the abduction of any unmarried girl under prevent a commission of a felony, should sixteen years of age; and was suggested be held by law to be justifiable homicide. by the unfortunate case of Miss Turner, He now came to what he considered a which had occupied so much of their lordmost important clause, in relation to what ships' attention. By the twenty-third was commonly called lord Ellenborough's section it was proposed to enact, that a
He proposed, that in addition to person whose consort had been abroad for the existing law against maliciously shoot- seven years, if that consort were known to ing, or drawing a trigger to discharge fire be living, might not marry with impunity; arms, or stabbing, cutting, or wounding, but should be subject to the punishment to make the law apply to the discharging of bigamy. The sections from that to the of any loaded arms, for there were means thirtieth, proposed the extension of various of accomplishing the same object without punishments to offences which were now the use of fire-arms ; after the provision not reached; such, for instance, as impedagainst cutting and stabbing, he would ing persons going to buy or sell corn at introduce words to include the use of any a market, &c. The only remaining section weapon for the same object, aad capable was the thirty-first, by which it was proof causing death, A person had recently posed to give the judges a discretionary been acquitted under this act, because he power of imprisonment in cases of abandonhad made use of an instrument not of a ing seamen on any foreign or colonial nature to cut or stab. The instrument, coast. That crime was now punished, in in his opinion was of no consequence, all cases, by a short imprisonment, It when the intention was manifested.-On was most evident, however, that there was the same principle rested the next clause, a great latitude in the degree of its atroby which it was provided, that all attempts city. A man might be left on a desert or to produce death by strangling, drowning, inhospitable shore, under circumstances &c. should be deemed equally capital as which nearly amounted to murder; yet attempts to kill by any other methods. now the captain of a vessel so acting was Nothing could be more absurd than not not liable to a greater punishment than he to punish, as a murderer, the man who who sailed away leaving a sailor on the might, for instance, follow another person coast of France or Portugal. It was inand shove him over a bridge or into the tended to arm the judges with a discretionwater, with an intent to kill, and from ary power on the subject. Having now which effort the victim might escape only come to a conclusion with respect to the by chance. By the 15th section, it was bill for consolidating and altering the laws proposed to apply the same punishment respecting offences against the person, he for administering poison, or using any in- should say a few words in explanation of strument to procure abortion in a woman his second bill ; namely, a bill proposing found not to be quick with child, as when the Introduction of certain Amendments in the woman was quick with child. At the Law of Evidence. The first point related
to the admission of the evidence of Qua- | was none with reference to a civil case ? kers in criminal cases. It was singular, It was remarkable that the legislature had considering the high authority by which it never entertained any apprehensions of had been long ago declared that the the want of veracity on the part of Quaaffirmation of Quakers ought to be kers in civil cases. In the reign of George received in criminal as it was already 1st, the archbishop of York proposed a received in civil cases, that no alteration clause in the Tithe act, excepting the had hitherto been made in the law on the testimony of Quakers. Their lordships subject. It was the opinion of lord Mans- rejected the clause; and not a single field, in a most able judgment, in which he instance had been heard of in the century stated the grounds of that opinion, that it that had elapsed of a want of conscientious was most expedient to make the change conduct in a Quaker, with reference to now recommended. In fact, the want of that act. If it was not improper to admit such a change had been, in many cases, the testimony of Quakers in civil cases, attended with great inconvenience. It had how much less so must it be to admit it in prevented many criminals from being criminal cases, where the natural contried; and, in other cases, where they had science of man was more alive to minute been tried, it had prevented conviction. accuracy of statement? The next point He had the means of knowing that a of his bill went to admit, in cases of system of depredation on the Quakers, in forgery, the evidence of the person whose the town of Manchester, had been carried hand-writing was forged. By the law as on to a great extent by gangs of rogues it at present stood, the evidence of such a from London, in the confidence of the person was not admissible, when it could protection which they enjoyed from the be proved that he had any interest, direct non-admissibility of the evidence of the or indirect, in the transaction. Great evils persons whom they plundered. He also had arisen from this state of things. It knew many instances in which the property was now proposed to admit the evidence of Quakers had been abstracted from mail of any person under such circumstances ; and other coaches, in consequence of the his credibility being, of course, a matter difficulty which the present state of the that would be weighed by the judge and law threw in the way of bringing the jury. There were only two remaining robbers to condign punishment. It was clauses. One was, to place a person who but a few years ago that, at Hoddesdon, had been guilty of a felony, not punishin Hertfordshire, a most atrocious murder able with death, and who had undergone was committed, in the presence of four the punishment of that felony, in the most respectable individuals ; but in con situation in which he would have been sequence of those individuals being Qua- placed had he received a pardon under the kers, their testimony could not be received. great seal, and to render him a competent More recently, a forgery was committed witness in a court of justice. It was upon the bank of Cirencester. One of the doubtful, and only doubtful, whether he partners of the bank was a Quaker; and was so at present; the benefit of clergy it so happened, that he alone was capable having been abolished. If it was right to of proving that the hand-writing was do this with respect to cases of felony, it forged; and as his evidence could not be was evidently right to extend the principle received, the forger escaped punishment. to cases of misdemeanour. He had now In all other instances the oath was gone through the principal clauses of his administered according to the form to second bill. He was by no means prepared which the party was accustomed. If a to assert that the improvements which they murder on the river Thames were alleged would introduce were extensive. There to be committed by a Chinese, and if the was nothing in them of a very novel or only evidence in his favour were a Quaker, extraordinary character. But their lordas the law now stood, the declaration of a ships would agree with him, that on such Lascar, after he had broken his saucer, subjects they ought to proceed by slow would be immediately received, while the degrees, and with a watchful attention to affirmation of the Quaker, though he the progress of legal proceedings, in order appealed to heaven for its veracity, would that any amendments introduced into the be rejected. Why should there be any law might be introduced on safe and difference in the credibility of a Quaker intelligible grounds. He believed that with reference to a criminal, when there those which he had the honour to recom