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Mr. Pryme rejoiced to hear that the noble Lord intended to agree to this suggestion. He was aware of the indelicacy of these investigations before the Quarter-sessions; but such cases demanded more inquiry than could be given to them before the Petty-sessions. Report agreed to.
DISTRICT CONSTABLES.] The House in Committee on the County and District Constables' Bill.
On clause 5 being proposed, which vests the appointment and disposition of the petty constables in the chief constable of each district," subject to such orders as he may receive from the justices in quarter or special session assembled, and to the rules established for the government of the force,"
Lord J. Russell had stated the other evening, the reasons which led him to think that it would not be satisfactory to make the bill temporary. One reason was, that under a temporary measure, it would not be possible to get the best persous to apply for situations, if they were told that the occupation might cease at the end of two years. He did not deny the proposition that taxation and representation ought to go together; but if they had said of the metropolitan police, when it was first established, that taxation and representation must go together, and that it should only last two years, the force would have been extinguished before the end of the time by its own unpopularity. He did not expect, at first, any great degree of popularity for this measure, but ultimately it would be felt, he was convinced, that it was quite consistent with the li
Sir H. Verney proposed the omission of the words "subject to such orders as he may receive from the justices in quar-berty of the subject that pickpockets and ter or special session assembled," in order to substitute the following-" subject to the approval of two justices."
rioters should be taken up. If the bill were made temporary, every candidate, at every fresh election, would say that he would take every opportunity, if returned, to put an end to the gens d'armerie, to the Bourbon police, or whatever else they might be called.
Mr. Hume thought it advisable, as far as possible, to restrict the responsibility for the conduct of the force to the chief constable; it would, therefore, be advisable to omit all reference to the justices. Mr. T. Attwood said, this bill went to The committee divided on the ques-establish a tyranny, and did it in a weak tition that the words proposed to be left way. If the noble Lord had said plainly, out, stand:-Ayes 56; Noes 23:-Majo- it is intended to establish an infernal rity 33. French system of gens d'armerie, he could have understood him. He denied that there was any call for any of these extraordinary usurpations. There had been no petitions. He was convinced that the object of the bill was not, to preserve the peace, but to establish a tyranny, and the noble Lord knew it. He should support the motion of the hon. Member for Wigan.
The remaining clauses of the bill agreed
Mr. Ewart moved the addition of a clause to limit the operation of the bill to 1st of August, 1841. He was opposed to the principle of the bill, for he wished the police to be under the control of a responsible body. The bill ought not to be per manent, because neither the House nor the country had had proper opportunity to consider the provisions of it.
Clause brought up and read a first time. On the motion that it be read a second time,
Mr. Warburton said, the county rates would be doubled by this measure, and it ought not, therefore, to pass without Parliament reserving the right to revise and re-consider it, with a view to give the counties at large the right of electing boards for the appointment and superintendence of this force. If it were once passed permanently, it would be difficult at any future time to alter the measure, and make the taxing body responsible.
Mr. D'Israeli should support the limitation of the bill to the year 1841. It was an incontestable fact, that for the last twenty years there had been a gradual diminution of crime in this country. Yet it was attempted to revolutionize the police under these circumstances. The decrease of enormous crimes had been particularly great within the last fourteen years. This was in favour of the old system of constabulary. In fact, there was as little crime in the rural districts of England as in any country in the world. In the rural districts, the two great classes of offences were poaching and wood cutting; but it was very seldom that a phea
sant disappeared, or a tree was cut, that | Gordon, R.
the manufacturing districts, in the rural it
Lord Worsley said, there was great increase of crime in his county (Lincolnshire); but the very great disinclination to prosecute made the amount of crime not known. During the last three or four years highway robberies had been committed in his county. If the bill were only to be permitted to operate for two years, there would be a general disinclination on the part of the majority of the magistrates to bring it into force.
The House divided-Ayes 21; Noes 77: -Majority 56.
Gordon, hon. Capt.
Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.
Stanley, hon. W. O.
Yates, J. Á.
Baring, F. T.
House resumed; report to be received.
COLLECTION OF POOR-RATES.] On the order of the day for bringing up the report on the Poor-rates Collection Bill,
Mr. Hawes objected to giving the Boards of Guardians by this bill greater power than was formerly possessed by the overseers. He hoped, also, that the noble Lord would give the opportunity of appeal to the quarter sessions.
Lord J. Russell said, he had met the first proposition of the hon. Member by amendments made in committee; and to the hon Member's second proposal he had a decided objection.
Mr. T. Duncombe moved that a proviso should be added to the bill to exempt from its operation, parishes which were subject to any local acts for the relief of the poor.
Hector, C. J.
Hodges, T. L.
Howard, P. II.
Lord J. Russell said, the bill was certainly not intended to apply to such parishes, but he thought the proviso unnecessary, and he feared that it would, as worded by the hon. Member, extend too far.
The House divided :-Ayes 14; Noes 59-Majority 45.
List of the AYES.
Mildmay, P. St. John
Baring, F. T.
SLAVE-TRADE-PORTUGAL.] Viscount Palmerston: I rise in pursuance of notice which I gave, to move for leave to bring in a bill for the better suppression of the Slavetrade. The House are aware, I presume, of the grounds and circumstances which render it necessary for me to make this motion. We know, by the committee appointed to search the Lords' Journals, that the bill which was passed for the purpose of suppressing the Slave-trade by this House, and which was sent up to the House of Lords, has not passed that House. Undoubtedly, in the first instance, that fact would have led this House to imagine, that there was a difference of opinion between the two Houses of Parliament upon the great, interesting, and important subject to which the bill so sent up related. If that difference of opinion had really existed, it would have been a subject of much regret and deep concern in this House, and might have materially if not entirely defeated the efforts which this House of Par
liament, in concurrence heretofore with the other House, has made to put an end to this abominable crime. But I am happy to be able to state, that the proceedings which have taken place in the House of Lords since the rejection of that bill, tend satisfactorily to show, that the rejection did not arise from any difference between the two Houses as to the great object in view, and that it must have been founded either upon some misconception of the grounds upon which that particular bill was proposed, or some objections in point of form connected with it; because the House of Lords have, since they rejected the bill, sent up an address to the Crown, couched in the strongest possible terms, calling upon the Crown to give to the cruizers, such orders as may effectually enable them to put down and prevent the traffic in slaves. Now, that address proves, that the House of Lords are sincerely desirous of co-operating with this House in the attainment of that great object, and that address, I think, by calling upon the Crown to take measures which undoubtedly the Crown will not hesitate one moment in taking, goes strongly to prove, that it was but a formal objection, which made the House of Lords indisposed to pass the particular measure which we proposed. As far as we can judge, by those means of information we possess, of the grounds upon which that bill was considered objectionable, those grounds were two :-first, an objection was taken to the course of proceeding; next, an objection was taken to the particular nature of the bill. It was contended, in the first place, that the proceeding ought to have originated in consequence of a communication of the Crown to Parliament. That objection will now be removed, because, in answer to the address of the House of Lords there will be a communication from the Crown, intimating the intention of the Crown to take those measures which the House of Lords has requested might be taken. The proceedings, therefore, will from that moment be placed upon the footing which the House of Lords thought it ought to stand upon. The other objection taken was, that in the preamble of the bill, Parliament was called upon to pronounce an opinion, as it were, upon the difference which has arisen between Great Britain and Portugal; and it was understood to have been alleged that it belonged to the Crown, acting on the responsibility of its advisers, to pronounce an opinion upon that difference, and that Parliament
ought not to have been brought in, as it were, to espouse the opinion of the Crown, and make itself responsible for a measure which exclusively devolved upon her Majesty's Ministers. I propose to get rid of that objection, by entirely altering the preamble of the bill I now ask leave to introduce. I propose, that the preamble of the bill shall be (if I may say so) entirely Parliamentary, merely reciting the expediency of giving certain powers to the Crown and to certain courts of law, without entering into any question pending between the Crown of England and Portugal. I should confidently hope, that these two circumstances would remove the objections which the other House of Parliament entertained against the former bill. As it will then stand, we may be entitled to hope that if we pass a bill which shall contain those powers which are absolutely necessary to give effect to those measures which the House of Lords has requested the Crown to take, that that House will not refuse to give it their sanction, seeing that by those powers alone the end we all desire can be accomplished. I should perhaps, especially at this late hour, content myself with this statement, but I feel it necessary, for my own vindication, and in some degree for the vindication of the House of Parliament, whose organ only I have been on this occasion, to explain the course of proceeding which was adopted in the preparation of the former bill. It was objected to that bill, that it is unusual to call upon Parliament to act without any previous communication from the Crown, but those who urged that objection seemed to have forgot, that the bill itself arose out of Parliamentary proceedings, for it was in the course of last year, by addresses to the Crown from both Houses of Parliament, that the attention of the Crown was called to the fact, that Portugal had violated her engagements and treaties with this country, and had refused to assent to an adequate treaty for the suppression of the Slave-trade. The meaning of those addresses was, that the Crown should endeavour to obtain from Portugal such an adequate treaty. In the discussion upon the address from this House I stated, on the part of the Government, that we would endeavour to prevail on Portugal to sign such a treaty; and if we failed, we should come to Parliament and declare, that we had so failed, and in that case call upon Parliament to give us the necessary powers, in order to accomplish the purps es which Parliament itself wished to
have accomplished. In reply to that declaration of mine I was told by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, that if we did come to Parliament with that statement, our request would be granted, and that Parliament would give us the necessary powers. In the early part of this Session, I stated,'in answer to an inquiry that was made of me, that we had failed in obtaining from Portugal a treaty, which alone would have been sufficient for our purposes. I was then asked if I intended to come to Parliament. I replied that it was our intention to do so, and that I had a bill in preparation, but that I wished to postpone it until I could lay before Parliament the papers that would show the course of the negociation between this country and Portugal, and explain how and why we had failed, and wherefore it was that we were obliged to ask for further powers. I am sure therefore that it is from misconception and inadvertence merely that the objection as to our mode of proceeding has been urged. However the objection was urged, and it was stated that we were doing that which was tantamount to making war; while if we had declared war against Portugal we should have been obliged to lay before Parliament the projet and contre projet, the notes and the answers. The parties who made that objection were not aware (and it was no wonder, considering the multitude of papers that are before Parliament) that I had laid all those papers on the Tables of both Houses in the fullest detail before I brought in the bill-the introduction of which, in the opinion of some, perhaps, I too long delayed-in order that it might be proceeded with after a full statement to the House of the transactions between the two countries. With regard to the bill itself, if there was any departure from form, or from the usual course of Parliamentary proceedings, I did not altogether inadvertently adopt that departure, because, before I brought in the bill I felt it my duty to consult several persons, some connected with myself in politics, others unconnected with me in general politics, but all equally interested in attaining the great object in view, as to the bill I intended to bring in before I actually produced it to the House; and if we all of us preferred that form of the preamble to which objection has been made elsewhere, it may have been an error of judgment on our part, but at all events we did not adopt it inadvently or from a wish unnecessarily to depart from the usual course. After deliberation we thought it
the better mode of proceeding under the, is no instance in history of such a flagrant extraordinary circumstances of the case, breach as that committed by Portugal tothat the bill which gave these powers wards this country with regard to the Slaveshould record the circumstances that lead to trade. For, instead of suppressing the Slavethe necessity of creating them. At the trade and abolishing it, she encourages it. same time, if these objections can be re- She not only connives at it by her officers; moved, I am sure this House will feel but the authorities actually lend themselves happy to make any change in order to to it, encourage it, thrive by it, make forobtain the much desired unanimity on this tunes by it, enrich themselves by it, form subject. Objections have been made to my parties of influence which control and overnot having introduced the bill with a state- rule the Government at Lisbon. It is ment of the grounds on which it was owing to the very fortunes made by the founded. It was perhaps unfortunate that Slave-trade, that an influence of a political no debate arose upon the bill. If there had character has been acquired at Lisbon which been, it might have prevented the miscon- now overrules and sways the Government ception that had arisen elsewhere. But the of that country. By this slave-trading cause of there being no debate, was the per- faction the government of Portugal has been fect unanimity which prevailed in this prevented from acceding to the treaties House on the subject. There was an equal which we have proposed. I say, so far understanding by all parties of the grounds from abolishing the Slave-trade, she has upon which the measure was introduced. substituted her slave-trading flag in the All were equally anxious that there should place of all the slave-trading flags in the be no unnecessary delay, and we preferred world. In proportion as we have been passing the bill sub silentio, that it should enabled to exclude from that trade the flag that not be postponed. We thought, too, of Holland, the flag of France, and the flag that equal unanimity would prevail elsewhere of Spain, we find the flag of Portugal exupon the subject, and I am convinced tending its protection to the trade which was that our expectation will prove ultimately formerly carried on under the flags of those right, notwithstanding the circumstance different Powers. Not only has she not which has rendered the introducion of a fulfilled her engagements with us-not second bill necessary. There having been only has she retained her trade where no debate, however, it might be necessary it was when those engagements were to state briefly the grounds upon which contracted, but she has actually increased Parliament is called upon to adopt the pre- it; and there is now not a slave-trader that sent measure. The first ground is that crosses the ocean that does not carry his Portugal is bound by different treaties with protection of that traffic under the prostithis country to abolish her Slave-trade; not tuted flag of Portugal. I can only say, only to co-operate with us in that abolition, to take a single instance, that I believe not but to use all the means in her own power less than 100,000 Africans, from one side to accomplish that purpose. These stipu- of the Atlantic to the other, are annually lations were not made gratuitously on the carried from a state of liberty to a state of part of Portugal. We made pecuniary slavery into the Brazils and Cuba under sacrifices. We gave her money which, by the flag of Portugal. This is therefore a her own admission, amounted to nearly case of engagements contracted here, and half a million. Beyond that we paid to of engagements violated. No efforts on Portuguese owners for the loss of their our part have been wanting to procure by slave ships upwards of 300,000l. as persuasion from Portugal what Portugal compensation money. Thus besides the ought to have granted unasked. We have 300,0007., a sum between 450,000l. and for more than four years endeavoured to 460,000l. was paid to Portugal as a nation persuade government after government in as the price for abolishing the Slave-trade. Portugal to conclude a treaty, which shall The treaties of 1815 and 1817 contained by her consent, enable us to acomplish the engagements most stringent and complete purposes which she had bound herself by upon this subject. Now, Sir, has Portu- her own means to effect, but we have engal fulfilled these engagements? No. She deavoured in vain. The several governhas violated them in a greater degree, I will ments of Portugal, by pretexts the most venture to say, than any country in the frivolous, upon objections the most unhistory of the civilized world could be found founded, upon allegations totally destitute ever to have violated the solemn obligations of truth, have rejected the proposals which of treaties. I will venture to say that there we have made, and by every contrivance