« ElőzőTovább »
and the other great principles of the bill, I this point, but he admitted the objection but whether their Lordships were willing existed in this case. He recollected that to adopt, or not adopt it now, he could
he once had a conversation with one of the most acute and able men that the world had produced-he meant the late Mr. Fox, on the subject of the learned and distinguished father of his noble Friend opposite (Lord Ellenborough) having a seat in the Cabinet, while holding the office of Lord Chief Justice. Mr. Fox stated, that he could give a dozen instances to justify the proceeding, and supported it with powerful argument, and concluded with doing him the honour of asking him what he thought of the matter, and he replied, that he was not convinced, notwithstanding the exertions. made to justify the course then taken. The arguments used convinced neither the Bar nor the public; and his noble Friend's revered father himself said, some time afterwards, that if it was to do over again, he would not consent to it. His noble Friend had alluded to his having held the office of Lord Chancellor, but the Chancellor was a political man, and was removable at every change of government, or whenever occasion required. This was very different from the judge of the Admiralty, who had a great criminal jurisdiction, and was a member of the Central Criminal Court, and might be called upon to sit in trials of high treason. He was not on the same footing as the Lord Chancellor, who was known to be a political man, and to hold his office at the will of the Crown. As for the dispensation of patronage that he had, it was a very disagreeable part of the duty of his office; and he did all in his power while Lord Chancellor to get rid of it, and diminish it, for which he was very much blamed, as his noble Friend very well knew,
Lord Brougham entertained, as he had before stated, the strongest objections to many of the details of this bill. As for being guilty of the slightest inconsistency in asking for this bill and now objecting to it, it was not more than if he had asked his noble and learned Friend for bread, and his noble and learned Friend had given him a stone. He had asked for a particular bill, and another, altogether different from what he had expected, was presented to him. Was it not a shame to expect him to eat a stone? If they had given him the bread he had asked for he would have eaten it; but with a portion of the bread they had given him two large flint pebbles, and his noble and learned Friend expected him to swallow them also. He would not attempt to do any thing of the kind. The authors of this bill had given him two principles which he could not digest under any circumstances. His noble Friend had stated, that he had repeatedly asked for this bill. He did not deny that he had long urged his noble Friend to bring forward a measure on the subject, and the matter would have been settled, if it had been brought forward at an earlier period of the Session. His noble Friend seemed to think, that he had gained a great triumph in charging him with having administered, in the opinions that he had put forth, a heavy blow, and a great discouragement, to the representative system; but his noble Friend's observations applied to some office bearers, which was very different from the distributors and administrators of justice, who were undoubtedly appointed by the Crown, but they were irremovable. He cared not whether it was a heavy blow, a discouragement, or not, as he felt convinced that it was not a right source from which to take a judge, and that you should not allow him to be one day seated on the bench, and the next to make his appearance on the hustings. The sort of Argyll couduct which a popular constituency Somerset naturally expected was not becoming in Richmond. any judge. He might be told, that the Master of the Rolls might also sit in Par-Normanby liament, and that his noble Friend did so Conyngham Lansdowne. when he held that situation. He was rather surprised that his noble Friend had not made an argumentum ad hominem on
The House divided on the original question:-Contents 23; Not-Contents 34: Majority 11.
List of the CONTENTS.
Stuart de Rothsay
Bp. of Peterborough. Falmouth.
Bill put off for three months.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
Tuesday, August 13, 1839.
MINUTES.] Bills. Read a second time:-Consolidated Fund; Exchequer Bills (12,056,050); Corporate Pro perty (Ireland). Read a third time:-Excise Licenses (Sale of Spirits); Real Estates Liability; Sheriffs' Ex. emption; Joint Stock Banking Companies; and Tithe
Commutation Acts Amendment.
Petitions presented. By Lord G. Somerset, from Manchester, against the Manchester Police Bill.-By Mr. Bolling, from Bolton, against the Bolton Police Bill.
Vigors, N. A. Wakley, T.
Scholefield, J.; Duncombe, T,
Bill read a third time, and passed.
MANCHESTER POLICE.] Lord John Russell moved that the Manchester Police Bill be committed.
Lord G. Somerset, in consequence of the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester, had been induced to give his support to the second reading of this bill, believing, from what was then stated, that unless some such measure were passed, there would in a short time be no police force in Manchester. Since that discussion, he had been at some pains to ascertain how the facts stood, and the result was, he had come to the conclusion that this bill was not called for by the necessities of the case. The noble Lord founded the present measure on the propriety of having a large and efficient police
BIRMINGHAM POLICE] Lord J. Russell moved the third reading of the Bir-force in the town of Manchester, in conmingham Police Bill (No. 2.)
Mr. Scholefield, agreeably to the wishes of a majority of the inhabitants, and of the whole of the town-council of Birmingham, felt it his painful duty to oppose the motion of the noble Lord, and moved, as an amendment, that i be re d a third tim that day three mon.hs,
sequence of the disturbed state of that district; but he maintained, there had been no such overt acts in Manchester as justified the House in passing such a stringent bill as the present. He was quite aware that yesterday there had been some windows broken, but he was also aware that that violence had been put
down by the police force now in existence, | What could be the reason of that expreswithout any necessity for employing the sion of opinion, except a strong conviction military force. There were now 220 per- on the part of these petitioners that the sons well organized, and trained to their measure was not necessary for the preduty; they had been organized for a num-servation of the public peace, and for the ber of years; and the system of watch, as protection of life and property? The comhe had been informed, could not be im- missioners had a legislative right to levy a proved. The situations of the towns of rate for the police, and if that was reManchester and Birmingham were totally fused, they had power to apply to the different. In Manchester they had a good Court of Queen's Bench for a mandamus; disciplined police force, fully equal to and, therefore, there was no chance of anything that might be required of them, Manchester being left without a police acting under the directions of legally con- force up to July 1840. As far as he stituted authorities. No such occurrence could understand the opposition of the as the riots in Birmingham had occurred inhabitants to the measure had not a in Manchester, nor had the interference of tincture of party spirit about it; on the the military been required to put down contrary, Radicals, Conservatives, and riots in Manchester. In Birmingham, the Whigs, all joined in saying the bill was case was otherwise, because there they had totally unnecessary. So far from tending no properly organized police force, and no to establish peace and tranquillity, and local authorities to direct them, such as tending to the good government of the existed in Manchester. In Birmingham, town of Manchester during the discussion, where the Government interfered, and pro- as regards the validity of the charter posed to pay the police by public money, granted to that town, he believed that this he acknowledged their right to pass such bill would be attended with a directly dif a measure; but in the case of Manchester, ferent effect. So far from producing unathe funds were to be furnished exclusively nimity, he believed it would increase the by the local authorities; and, therefore, prevailing difference of opinion. Conhe could not acknowledge the passing of sidering that the passing of a coercion the Birmingham bill was an argument in bill was not a likely way to heal discord, favour of the present measure. So far as or promote the tranquillity of the town, he understood, whatever might have been he moved, as an amendment, that the bill done or said by the town council of Bir- be committed that day three months. mingham, there had been no demonstration there of public feeling against the bill for establishing a police in that town; but the case was very different in Manchester. A very large meeting had been held since the introduction of the bill was announced, and it was attended by persons professing all shades of politics-every one, Conservative, Whig, and Radical, all unanimously said the present measure was wholly unnecessary. It was only on the Saturday that it was known at Manchester the bill had passed a second stage, and on the Monday following, the petition had received the signatures of 7,000 inhabitants of Manchester, of all shades of political opinion, representing the property and respectability of the town, strongly deprecating the measure; and yet those were the persons for the protection of whose lives and property the noble Lord said the measure was absolutely necessary. Those persons differed with the noble Lord in toto, and said the measure was uncalled for. They were of opinion that the ordinary police were perfectly efficient.
Mr. M. Philips said, the noble Lord had been pleased to refer to the statement which he had made upon the previous discussion of this measure. The statement he then made was perfectly candid and correct.
He felt himself in a very unpleasant situation in coming forward to support a bill, which he believed was necessary for the tranquillity of the town which he represented, but which he admitted did partake somewhat of an unconstitutional character. It had been represented that a considerable amount had been collected by the police commissioners. But the point which it was important to bear in mind was, whether their power of collecting the rates could be relied on. And he begged to direct attention to the 124th clause of the 11th Geo. 4th, the Act under which the commissioners were empowered, and it would be seen, that by this clause, any parties depositing the amount of a disputed rate with the collector, and giving notice to the commissioners, might appeal against such rate to t Quarter Sessions, within four r
House to pause before they sanctioned it. He was sure it would be received with dissatisfaction. The manufacturing towns were not in a position to bear the imposition of additional burdens. He hoped the noble Lord would show the necessity which existed for this measure. The situation of Manchester was entirely different from that of Birmingham. As regarded the town of Bolton, too, the burden would be intolerable.
Mr. P. Thomson: It had been stated, that no reason had been brought forward for passing the bill. Why, the fact was, that the reasons adduced were so strong that the noble Lord, who now proposed the amendment, had been induced by them to vote for the second reading of the bill. It had been contended, that the case was not parallel with that of Birmingham; he contended that it was so, as far as the necessity of providing some police force went. The very circumstance, that in the threatened disturbance of yesterday the existing police at Manchester had been able to preserve the peace of the town, formed the strongest reason in favour of this bill. The fact was, that neither the town-council nor the commis
Now, there was a great distinction be- | Lord, to induce him to bring in such a tween paying and depositing. Money coercive measure as this. He wished the deposited, he considered could not be appropriated. The collector dare not apply the money so deposited with him to the usual purposes till the vexata questio was settled: till then, the money was as though paid into court. But there was nothing to prevent parties objecting to the rate, from suffering distress, and putting in a replevin, thus postponing the decision for nine or twelve months. He thought the present measure wisely and judiciously framed, and calculated to prevent those heartburnings which would otherwise prevail. It should be borne in mind that there were, in fact, two bodies of police in the town, one that of the corporation, the other that of the commissioners. And he thought, that instead of co-operating together, which it was scarcely possible to expect, seeing that they were directed by opposite parties, instead of co-operating to preserve the peace, they would themselves be found the disturbers of the peace. The selection of the force, he considered, would be best committed to persons unconnected with the party feel ing so prevalent in the town. As to Salford, it had its own local Act, similar in effect to the Manchester Act; and there being no disputes in Salford on the sub-sioners possessed the means of continuing ject of contesting jurisdictions, if the police were inefficient (and he was not aware that they were), they could be increased to any extent under that Act. He had no wish to make any remarks on the manner that signatures had been procured to the petition presented by the noble Lord; but he must say that, according to the accounts he had received, the parties who had been most active in getting up that petition, and who were so conscientious that they would not permit the Zoological-gardens of the town to be visited on Sundays, on the ground that it would be a desecration of the Sabbath, had been zealously employed, nevertheless, in canvassing for signatures to that petition during Sunday.
Mr. Grimsditch believed the bill to be unnecessary; and he asked, why not introduce a short bill to settle the disputed point? The commissioners and the corporators were many of them the same parties. There was no evidence offered to the House to prove that they ought to pass such a bill as this. He thought there must be some pressure upon the noble
that police force, and unless this measure was passed, the town would be exposed to repetitions of the scenes of yesterday. He would not enter into details, as they had been already fully argued by his hon. Friend and colleague. He should give the bill his most sincere and cordial sup port.
Mr. Brotherton had always been a supporter of every liberal measure, but he never would oppose any bill that he deemed essential for the preservation of the public peace. The hon. Gentleman opposite said there had been no riots, no burnings in Manchester, and therefore they would not support the passing of this bill. Was he, then, to suppose, that these hon. Members thought the House ought to wait till such outrages actually occurred, and only then adopt proper measures to restore tranquillity? Manchester consisted of six townships, and the commis sioners of police had no jurisdiction in five of them. They had no power to extend their jurisdiction beyond the principal township of Manchester, and the other five were thus left without a police.
Mr. Bolling had supported the second reading of the bill, but, from the communications he had received from his constituents, he was now prepared to oppose all those bills, as he thought the peace of the district would be best preserved by their withdrawal.
sorry to see that persons of great weight) and advising the rate-payers, for their own and authority had in this case associated sake, not to pay it. He did not think the themselves with improper parties to gratify police in Manchester was in a satisfactory a factious feeling, regardless of the real state, when, on the one hand, there were peace and welfare of the town. A public parties refusing to pay the rate to the cormeeting had been got up, in a population poration, and, on the other hand, parties of 280,000, which, by great exertions, had denying that the police commissioners had been attended by about 2,000 persons. any power to levy the rate. He had very He understood great exertions had also recently received accounts, both from the been made to get the books completed, and civil and military authorities of that town, several of the leading men, large rate- stating that mobs had collected at different payers, had set an example by paying their places, for the purpose of inducing men to rates; but the great bulk of the people leave their work, and to produce a general would not pay the rates. He did not like strike by means of terror and intimidation. the bill; he admitted that, and would not The police were immediately sent to disvote for it if he could get anything else perse the mob, two of whom had threatened that he thought likely to preserve the to set fire to the mills. The military were peace of the town; but he should support called out in support of the police, and it from what he considered to be the neces- the police were then able to act; they sity of the case. were successful in taking several into custody, and dispersing the remainder. Now, what would have been the case if there had been no local police in the town, and the commissioners had been unable to maintain an efficient police? Why, the military would have been called out, and, instead of standing by, and enabling the police to take those men into custody without injury, they would have charged the rioters, and there might have been loss of life. Would the House be justified in not adopting measures to preserve the public peace? And would they say that the loss of life was a matter of indifference to Par. liament? He was, at least, bound to urge this bill on the House; and if those lamentable consequences should arise, owing to the want of an efficient police, in consequence of the rejection of the bill, it would not be because the Government had failed to urge this subject on the House, but because Parliament had refused to interfere. That was the short statement he wished to make in support of the bill. He knew that there were parties at Manchester who opposed the bill, and he was sorry that those parties did not confine themselves to their own means, and to their own respectable parties; but they had sought the aid of a great many of those who were the enemies of the law, who certainly acted most consistently, because, if they prevented any efficient police being established, their lawless objects would be aided, and their means of intimidating the loyal subjects of the Crown would be promoted. He would ask that House, however, whether they would countenance such views, or sup
Lord J. Russell said, the clause of the bill most opposed by hon. Gentlemen was that one which the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Tamworth, said it was his duty to propose, as conservator of the peace of the country; why it should be good for Birmingham, and should not be applied to Manchester, he did not know. His duty was to take steps for the preservation of the peace in every place wherein it could not be done by the local authorities. According to the opinions he had taken, if the charter of incorporation was good, the whole power of raising rates for the support of the police was vested in the corporation; and, therefore, immediately there was a decision in a court of law that the charter was good, that decision would carry this consequence, that all rates for the purpose of police should be ordered by the council, and that all other rates levied by others would be bad rates. In that case, it was evident that many parties would hesitate to pay at present, because they might have to pay all rates due over again from a certain day. That was not merely a legal view taken by those who had given that opinion, but it was supported by the conduct of the police commissioners themselves; because a protest had been signed by 92 commissioners out of 240, declaring the rate to be illegal,