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X.-CHRONICLE OF THE SESSION OF PARLIAMENT, 1850.

[13-14 Victoriæ.]

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(LORDS.) Parliament was opened by commission. The royal Jan. speech was read by the Lord Chancellor. It commenced by ex31. pressing "the deep affliction caused to her Majesty by the death of Queen Adelaide," and after eulogizing the virtues of the deceased royal lady, announced the happy continuation of peace and amity between her Majesty and foreign powers. Referring to the "serious differences that had arisen between Austria and Russia on the one hand, and the Sublime Porte on the other, respecting the treatment of the Hungarian refugees in Turkey, it stated that "explanations had taken place between the Turkish and Imperial Governments, which had fortunately removed any danger to the peace of Europe that might have arisen out of those differences." It next stated that her Majesty had been engaged in communications with foreign states upon the measures that might be rendered necessary by the repeal of the Navigation Laws; dwelt with satisfaction on the measures of reciprocity granted by the United States and Sweden to British ships; and expressed a hope our example will lead to a great and general diminution of the obstacles that prevent a free intercourse by sea between the nations of the world." The ravages of Cholera during the summer and autumn of last year formed the next topic. With reference to Ireland the speech recorded her Majesty's loyal reception in that country during her late visit; and dwelt with sympathy on "the effects of former years of scarcity," which" are still painfully felt" there, though these effects were "mitigated by the present abundance of food, and by the tranquillity that prevails." Having congratulated Parliament on the improved condition of commerce and manufactures, her Majesty "observed with regret the complaints" of the owners and occupiers of land; "lamented that any portion of her subjects should be suffering distress;" but derived "sincere gratification at witnessing the increased enjoyment of the necessaries and comforts of life, which cheapness and plenty had bestowed on the great body of her people." Economy in framing the estimates was recommended, and satisfaction at the present state of the revenue expressed. A measure providing" for the better government of the Australian colonies," would be laid before Parliament. Various measures for the improvement of Ireland were hinted at. Further progress in removing the evils that affect the health of her Majesty's subjects recommended, "both in the metropolis," and in other parts of the United Kingdom. The royal speech concluded with an acknowledgment of the "favour of Divine Providence in having hitherto preserved this kingdom from the wars and convulsions" that had, during the last two years, prevailed on the Continent of Europe.— Lord Brougham brought in a Bill to amend the Law of Bankruptcy; the Marquess of Lansdowne, a Bill for regulating Select Vestries. The Earl of Essex moved, and Lord Methuen seconded, the address; to which Earl Stradbroke proposed, and the Earl of Desart supported, an amendment expressive of regret for the distress prevailing among the agriculturists, "in consequence of recent legal enactments." This led to a discussion, after which the address was carried by a majority of 152 over 103.

(COMMONS.) The Hon. C. P. Villiers moved the address in reply to the throne, which was seconded by Sir James Duke. Sir J. Trollope moved, and Colonel Chatterton seconded, an amendment, similar to that proposed in the Lords. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in an able statistical speech opposed the amendment, which was supported by Mr. H. J. Herbert, Sir J. Walsh, and Mr. Grantley Berkeley. The debate was adjourned.

Feb.

(COMMONS.) The adjourned debate upon the address was resumed by the Marquess of Granby, who supported the amendment, 1. as did also Mr. Christopher, Mr. R. Palmer, Mr. Harris, and Mr. D'Israeli; Lord Norreys, Captain Pelham, Mr. M'Culloch, Mr. Labouchere, Lord J. Russell, and Mr. Cobden, supported the address, which, on a division, was carried by a majority of 311 over 192.

Feb. 4.

(LORDS.) The Lord Chancellor brought in a Bill to unite the offices of the Chief Registrar of the Courts of Bankruptcy, and the Lord Chancellor's Secretary of Bankrupts, which was read a first time. After an interesting conversation originated by Lord Stanley on the blockade of Greece by the British fleet, the Marquess of Lansdowne brought in a bill to amend the acts relating to the Ecclesiastical Commission.

(COMMONS.) The blockade of Greece was made the subject of debate by Mr. M. Gibson, and subsequently by Mr. D'Israeli. Mr. Roebuck and Mr. Anstey having addressed the House, Lord Palmerston explained the cause of the blockade to be the refusal of the Greek Government to redress certain grievances. The noble lord also stated the present position of the negotia. tions respecting Schleswig-Holstein. On bringing up the report on the address to the throne, a long desultory debate on free trade, protection, the distress of the Irish, and their indifference to the question of protection, followed; after which the report was agreed to.

(LORDS.) The Registrar's Office Bankruptcy Bill was read a Feb. second time. Lord Brougham recommended the case of Lieute

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nant Graham and Mr. Elliott to the merciful consideration of Government. The Marquess of Lansdowne promised to look into the case. On the motion of the Bishop of London a Bill was read a first time, to establish a Court of Appeal in suits instituted against the clergy for heresy and false doctrine. Lord Campbell brought in a Bill to alter the Scotch Law of Marriage. Lord Monteagle in moving for certain railway returns urged the necessity for a stringent Railway Audit Bill. Lord Granville stated that Ministers intended to bring in a bill on the subject.

(COMMONS.) Mr. Horsman, in moving a resolution, pledging the House to give effect to the recommendation of the Committee of Inquiry on the Ecclesiastical Commission to appoint three paid Commissioners for the manage ment of the property under the commission, dwelt on the carelessness and extravagance of the commission, its bankruptcy, the dexterous swindling and elopement of its secretary, and explained the object of his motion to be the transference of all control over the pecuniary affairs of the commission to three new and paid members. Sir G. Grey, while he vindicated the conduct of some of the episcopal members of the commission, concurred in the opinion that its composition was awkward, and expressed his willingness to join in any proposition for its improvement; the honourable baronet in conclusion taunted Mr. Horsman with shrinking from stating in that House the accusation which, in a letter to his constituents, he had made against the Prime Minister and himself, namely, that they had been guilty of disingenuous, dishonourable, and deceitful conduct, with reference to passing through Committee clauses different from those which had been previously agreed upon. In the debate that followed Mr. E. Denison, the Chairman and Reporter of the Committee, urged the adoption of the recommendation in the report, but suggested the withdrawal of the present motion; Mr. Horsman replied and withdrew his motion, as he was given to understand that a bill on the subject had been introduced in the Upper House; and in the course of his speech took on himself the responsibility of his deliberately written statement, published in the newspapers, and affecting the characters of two of the Ministers of the Crown. Leave was given to Mr. Drummond to bring in a Bill to facilitate the Transfer of Real Property; to Mr. Moffatt to

bring in a Bill to amend the law relating to bankrupt Members of Parlia ment; and to Mr. Fagan to bring in a Bill to make Life Assurance Policies assignable at Law. Bills were then brought in by Mr. M. Gibson to establish County Financial Boards for the assessing and administration of County Rates, in order to enable the tenant farmer to have a voice in controlling the expenditure of the counties; by Mr. Halsey to amend the Rating of Small Tenements; by Mr. Anstey to consolidate and amend the Irish Fisheries Acts; by Mr. Monsell to amend the Irish County Cess Act of last Session; and by Mr. Frewen to amend the law relating to the holding of Benefices in Plurality.

(COMMONS.) The Hon. Mr. Lascelles brought up the answer Feb. to the address. In Committee of Supply the usual supplies to her 6. Majesty were voted. On the House resuming, the Solicitor-General obtained leave to bring in the following Bills relating to Ireland: 1. For the regulation of Process and Practice in the Superior Courts of Common Law; 2. To simplify and improve the proceedings in the High Court of Chancery; 3. To improve the system of the Registration of Estates; and, 4. To amend the laws concerning Judgments. Mr. Hawes moved the re-appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the grievances complained of in connexion with the administration and government of Ceylon. Mr. Baillie in referring to the labours of the Committee accused the Government of forcing its official supporters towards the end of the Session directly to negative the report of the Committee; passed a severe censure on the atrocities committed by the government of the colony; and accused the Ministry of a bold and unblushing attempt to baffle and defeat investigation in not procuring from Ceylon the attendance of witnesses required by the Committee. Mr. Hawes, in reply, defended the governors of Guiana and Ceylon and stated that several witnesses from Ceylon were now here ready to give evidence; that a large mass of documentary evidence was ready; and trusted that the House would allow the Committee to be re-appointed, promising that the inquiry should be carried out to the fullest extent. Mr. Hume censured in severe terms the cruelties committed on the oppressed natives of Ceylon; accused the Secretary of State of doing every thing in his power to cloak and cover the atrocities committed by Lord Torrington; complained of the intimidation and bribery of witnesses to prevent inquiry into an affair involving the shooting of 22 men, the banishment of 28, and the imprisonment of 66; nevertheless he would agree to the re-appointment of the Committee, convinced that an investigation must be had. Mr. D'Israeli followed on the same side, and concluded by moving an addition to the motion condemnatory "of the manner in which the Government had evaded the understanding arrived at last Session for the production of witnesses from Ceylon." Lord J. Russell defended himself and the Colonial Secretary from the charges advanced. After some remarks from Sir J. Graham and Mr. F. Maule, Mr. Bright suggested an amendment to Mr. D'Israeli's proposal, which, being looked upon by Lord J. Russell as a vote of censure, went to a division and was negatived by 140 to 68. Mr. Bright next moved that four persons named should be summoned as witnesses, and examined by the Committee; this proposal was also opposed by Lord J. Russell as a vote of censure on Government, and was rejected by 109 to 100. Six o'clock having now struck the House adjourned.

Feb.

(LORDS.) The Registrar's Office Bankruptcy Bill went through Committee.

7. (COMMONS.) Mr. Roebuck put a question to Lord J. Russell

respecting the charge made by Mr. Horsman in his letter to his constituents. Lord J. Russell complained of the question being put without notice, seeing that it amounted to an attack upon his personal and ministerial character j

and explained that the charge was founded on a totally mistaken view of the facts. Sir G. Grey, with much warmth, expressed surprise that the subjects had been left unmentioned before the end of last Session, and kept for a "winter letter" to Mr. Horsman's constituents. Mr. Horsman reiterated, avowed, and was prepared to prove, the charge. Lord J. Russell said the proper way was to ask for a Committee of Inquiry. The subject then dropped. Mr. P. Scrope's motion for leave to bring in a bill to exempt the houses of the poor from local taxation, was negatived without division. Lord D. Stuart raised a debate upon Hungary by moving for papers. Mr. Macgregor then moved, and Mr. Hume seconded, a resolution transferring to Chelsea, Kensington, Fulham, and Hammersmith the dormant memberships of the disfranchised borough of Sudbury. The motion was opposed by Sir G. Grey and withdrawn. Mr. S. Wortley moved for leave to bring in a Bill to legalize Marriage with a Deceased Wife's Sister. After a short discussion the motion went to a division and was carried by 149 to 65. The Bill was accordingly brought in, as was also a Bill by Sir J. Pakington, to extend summary jurisdiction in cases of larceny; and another by Mr. Parker to repeal 6 Geo. IV., for encouraging the capture and destruction of piratical ships. Mr. Anstey's motion for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal certain penal statutes against Roman Catholics was opposed by Sir R. Inglis and Mr. Law, and on a division lost by 77 to 72. The Irish County Cess Bill passed through Committee.

(LORDS.) The Registrar's Office Bankruptcy Bill was read a Feb. third time and passed. Lord Brougham's Bankruptcy Act Amend

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ment Bill was read a second time.

(COMMONS.) Mr. Horsman gave notice of a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee of five to inquire into the truth of his charges against the Government. On the motion of Lord J. Russell the House went into Committee to take into consideration the subject of the Australian colonies, and to receive a statement of the colonial policy of the Government, when the noble lord stated the outlines of his intended system of colonial policy, and concluded by moving a resolution on which to found a Bill. After a short discussion the resolution passed. The Irish County Cess Bill was read a third time and passed. Leave was then given to Sir W. Somerville to bring in a Bill to restrain Party Processions in Ireland; and to the Solicitor General for a bill to enable persons having limited interests in land in Ireland to make building and improving Leases; and another for the better administration of Irish Charitable Trusts.

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11.

(LORDS.) The Irish Masters in Chancery Bill was read Feb. a first time. Lord Stanley originated a conversation on the blockade of Greece, during which the Marquess of Lansdowne stated that Government had accepted the "mediation," not the arbitration," of France in the difference with Greece. The noble marquess then moved the second reading of the Ecclesiastical Commission Bill, the object of which he stated to be to make the construction of the commission more effective by appointing two paid commissioners. After a few remarks from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl of Harrowby, the Bishop of London, and Lord Stanley, the second reading was agreed to.

(COMMONS.) Lord Ashley having interposed as mediator between Lord J. Russell and Mr. Horsman succeeded in eliciting mutual satisfactory explanations from both parties, and so the matter dropped. On the motion for naming the Ceylon Committee, Lord John Russell read a letter contradicting a statement made by Mr. Baillie during the previous debate on this subject. After a rather warm debate the names were agreed to. The Pirates Head Money Repeal Bill was read a second time. In a committee of the whole House, Mr. Labouchere moved resolutions, 1st, for the Improvement of the

Condition of the Masters, Mates, and Seamen in the Merchant Service; 2nd, for the Regulation of the Merchant Seamen's Fund; and, 3rd, for an improved System of the Measurement of the Tounage of Merchant Shipping. The resolutions were passed, and leave given to bring in Bills founded on them. Sir W. Somerville then obtained leave to bring in a Bill to abolish all franchise in Ireland resting on occupation, and to substitute for it a simple Rating Qualification, fixing the value at 87. ; and in cases of tenants-for-life of fee simple, at 57.; the honourable baronet also got leave to bring in a bill to shorten the duration of Irish elections and increase the number of Polling Places. On the motion of Sir G. Grey a committee was appointed to inquire into the discipline in the prisons of England and

Wales.

Feb. 12.

(LORDS.) The Irish County Cess Bill was read a second time. A Bill for shortening the Language of Acts of Parliament, brought in by Lord Brougham, was read a first time.

(COMMONS.) The Irish Courts Process and Practice Bill was read a second time. The motion for the second reading of the Irish Chancery Court Reform Bill was opposed by Mr. Turner, who proposed to send it to a select committee. The debate was proceeding when the House was counted out.

Feb. 13.

14.

(COMMONS.) Mr. C. Lewis obtained leave to bring in a Bill for the better management of Highways. The Select Committee on Army and Ordnance Expenditure was appointed.

(COMMONS.) Mr. Ewart obtained leave to bring in a Bill Feb. enabling town councils to establish Public Libraries. Mr. Fagan moved for a committee of the whole House to inquire into the grievance of Ministers' Money in Ireland. Sir G. Grey moved the previous question, which, on a division, was carried by 96 to 76. Mr. Adderley moved for leave to bring in a bill to repeal that part of 5 Geo. IV. which empowers the Queen and Privy Council to determine the places to which felons should be transported. The motion was opposed by Government, and, on a division, rejected by 110 to 38. Mr. Pusey obtained leave to bring in a Bill to improve the relation between Landlord and Tenant in England and Wales.

(LORDS.) In reply to the Earl of Mountcashel, who brought Feb. under their lordships' notice the outrages committed on the female emigrants to Australia by the crew of the "Indian" emigrant ship, Earl Grey stated that the matter should be inquired into with the utmost rigour.

15.

(COMMONS.) In a Committee of the whole House, Lord J. Russell entered into a detailed account of the origin of the distress which called for the advances made to Irish unions. He noticed among the brightening prospects of that country the cessation of famine and the clearance of the country by emigration and death; the revival of a spirit of industry and enterprise; the decrease in the expenditure upon pauperism for the four months ending January 4, 1850, amounting to 188,000l.; the diminution from 557,284 to 118,940 in the number of out-door paupers relieved in January 1849 and January 1850 respectively. Ireland could now provide for the future, but could not repay the past. Of the various advances made from the Treasury since 1839 for Irish workhouses and relief, a gross sum of 4,483,000l. was still unpaid; he now proposed to consolidate this total, and to allow forty years for its gradual repayment, no interest to be taken on such portions of the loan as were heretofore free from that charge. In order to release from their liabilities ten distressed unions in which the workhouse property had been seized for debts due to contractors and others, the noble lord proposed a further loan of 300,0001, Of the rate-in-aid advance

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