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cally, as to Italy, that it had not been thought right " to exercise any active interference" in the events of great importance that are taking place there:-as to Syria, that it was hoped "that tranquillity will soon be re-established in that province, and that the objects of the Convention will have been fully attained:" -as to China, "that the operations of the allied forces have been attended with complete success:"-and that two Conventions have been concluded with France supplementary to the Treaty of Commerce; and a Convention with Sardinia for the reciprocal protection of Copyright.
The terms in which Foreign Affairs are spoken of, so far as Europe is concerned, are remarkable. It is not usual to express a "trust that the moderation of the Powers of Europe will prevent any interruption of the general Peace." Such language can only be used with the intention of implying a doubt as to the "moderation of the Powers of Europe." It distinctly carries with it the affirmation, that there is something that is likely to disturb the "general peace." If such language refer to France, it is certainly very ungrate ful, when the Emperor was kind enough to send his Ambassador, post-haste, across to England, to help the English Ministers over the ignominy of a Lord Mayor's feast deserted by foreign representatives (see Parl. Rem. Vol. III. p. 257). But yet the terms of the Emperor's own Speech to the French Chambers, show that, so far as France is concerned, the peace of Europe hangs on a thread. Sir Robert Peel used always to find open to him on every occasion. The French Emperor is wiser: he declares that there are four contingencies, any one of which will carry France into war. (1) She will not interfere "where her interests are not at stake;" (2) she will "maintain her right where it is incontestable;" (3) she will "defend her honour where it is attacked;" (4) she will "give her assistance where it is asked in favour of a just cause." The irresponsible Emperor is the only referee for the interpretation of what is "interest," "right," "honour," "a just cause." But, without any gloss, these conditions clearly include any circumstances that may arise to stimulate ambition. Under one head or the other, any aggressive act, subversive of peace, may be justified. And, unluckily, an "interpretation clause,"-as clumsy statute-framers call it,is added by the Emperor himself, which shows, but too plainly, what sort of cases these four alternatives are intended to include. The "Right which is incontestable" is illustrated by the example of the "acceptance of the cession of Savoy and Nice"!
In the meantime, the French Emperor is enormously increasing both the army and the navy of France. The four alternatives which have been stated, will enable speedy occupation to be found for these great preparations.
As to Italy, the language of Government, in this Speech, is a great falling off from that of last year. Then, they would "steadfastly maintain the principle" of non-intervention. Now, they have themselves interfered, directly, by world-famous despatches; and they have been silent and passive while the French Emperor has intervened, with force of arms, at Rome and at Gaeta (see Parl. Rem. Vol. III. p. 258), and has thus, as he directly admits, "infringed, every day, the system of neutrality which he had proclaimed."
As to Syria, the Protocol enabling the French occupation is dated 3rd of August, 1860; and this fixes six months as "the duration of the occupation of the European troops in Syria.' This term expired on the third day of this present February. But the French troops still occupy Syria. All this is no more than what was exactly foretold in the Parliamentary Remembrancer (see Vol. III. pp. 199, 201, 218, 258). The same devices by which means were found, in the first instance, to cover an excuse for carrying out the object, so dear to French ambition, of an occupation of Syria, will not fail to find excuses for continuing the occupation. Already, rumours are being skilfully spread abroad, of the danger of fresh outrages if the French troops are withdrawn.
It is important to remark, that Lord Derby fell into a mistake, in his speech on the Address, when touching upon the occupation of Syria. He stated that the term of occupation, pledged to be adhered to, ceases on the 5th March. This is not so. It is true that the technical " Convention" between the Powers is dated 5th September, from which a six months' reckoning comes to 5th March. But the date of that Convention has nothing to do with the term of the occupation. That term is fixed by the Protocol of 3rd August. And this Protocol contains the following clause :- "It is understood that the six preceding Articles shall be embodied verbatim into a Convention, which shall receive the signatures of the undersigned Representatives, as soon as they are furnished with full powers from their Sovereigns, but that the stipulations of this Protocol will come immediately into force." Of these stipulations, the limitation of the occupation to six months, is the most express and the most important. The Convention" is merely the technical record of the stipulations entered into on the 3rd August. If the plain and very express words of the Protocol are to be overridden by the date of the technical record, the same dishonest quibble will enable the date to be carried yet five weeks further on, for five weeks are given for the "ratification" of the Convention. No honest Government would have recourse to, or can allow of, such quibbles and evasions. It is too much like what was attempted to be done, last year, with the Newcastle-upon-Tyne freemen (see Parl. Rem. Vol. III. p. 256). But the most important foreign affair, by far, that is now going on throughout the world, is the state of things in Hungary. It is the spectacle of the stern, but unarmed, conflict between Law and despotic Usurpation. Hungary never has been, as superficial politicians imagine, a part of the Austrian Empire. On the contrary, their independent Laws and rights of self-government have always been jealously, and up to 1848 successfully, maintained by the people of Hungary. Other opportunities will arise of stating the facts of the actual relation of Hungary and her kings to the persons who happened to be Emperors of Austria. For the present, it is enough to note the position, unexampled in the world's history, that Hungary now holds towards a Power which has, for the twelve years past, been inflicting wrong and oppression in every form upon her, and which has been striving to crush out from her sons all the spirit of freedom and of intelligence. There is nothing even in English History, which has so many noble and instructive scenes, that is more noble or more instructive than the attitude of Hungary at this moment. She does not allow herself to be goaded into armed resistance. She stands simply upon the Law. Educated, for centuries, in the habitual use of Self-Government, her sons know thoroughly well its value and its practice, and are not to be either deluded or frightened by empty sentimentalisms or vague threats. They maintain, without flinching, the ground which they well know; and, to all the promises and all the threats of Austria, they have but one answer,"The Laws of 1848." The unwise Ministers of Charles II. of England, when-by no act of his own, but by the invitation of Parliament he began his reign, foolishly attempted to engraft a lie on history, by calling the first year of his reign the twelfth; though Mr. Disraeli and Lord John Russell have already, in the present Session, distinguished themselves by ignoring that attempted historic lie, and have each put together, in one sentence, Elizabeth and Cromwell as "great and wise sovereigns." The Hungarians, wronged and long-suffering as they have been, do not seek to make history lie. But they would take bygones as bygones, and deem the twelve years of usurpation to be blotted out from their reckoning. Unlike revolutionists, who have always a new Constitution for the world, ready at the shortest notice, they know that safe and good human government must always rest upon tried principles, and that the soundness of these principles is only to be proved by the use that has been made of them. The Laws of 1848 were made in conformity with the long known and used principles of constitutional government in Hungary. They were made in a
regular way, by the Diet, and under the advice of some of the noblest patriots that have ever lived. Therefore the Hungarians simply say, to-day, in reply to all the awkward attempts of Austria at alternate bullying and coaxing "The Laws of 1848." It is not, and the fact is important, that every one of those Laws is deemed perfect, or that all of them are even popular in Hungary; but it is, that they are the Laws of the country, made in the only regular way, and able to be altered, safely, and in consistency with free institutions, in one way only. The iron heel of usurpation has been upon the neck of the Law for twelve years. But what a people in whom the spirit of true freedom is engrained, has made up its mind to do, is, simply, to treat the year 1848 as adjourned over to 1861. Hungary stands upon the Law: she asks nothing more: but she will take nothing less. All this is not understood by common-place politicians. It has not the brilliancy and the glitter and the noise of armed strife: but it requires infinitely more courage, and infinitely more intellectual strength: and, what is of great importance, it is infinitely more likely to be successful in regaining and assuring the liberties of the kingdom, and giving an enduring example to Europe and the world. Hence it is, that the events now passing in Hungary, are-even amid all the rumours of wars, and the warlike deeds and preparations of Europe and of America-by far the most interesting in themselves, the most important for the hopes of free institutions, and the most critical test of the probability of Constitutional Government being able to be maintained, instead of the black night of despotism overspreading the whole world. The States of North America.--In the same Speech, "great concern" is expressed at the events now taking place among the States of North America; and the "heartfelt wish" is uttered, "that these differences may be susceptible of a satisfactory adjustment."
These last loose words are characteristic of the very loose notions that are common in England on the subject of what used to be the United States of North America. It is, from the very nature of the facts, no other than impossible that the "differences" can be "susceptible [whatever that means] of satisfactory adjustment." Already, the honour of the Northern States has been seriously imperilled; and it has been proclaimed, that many of them are so given up to the worship of the "almighty dollar" that every great principle will be cheerfully sacrificed by them, if only the States of the South will be so good as to remain in the Union, which the Northern States take to be rather profitable, in a commercial sense, to themselveɛ. That the Northern States are not thus dishonoured, will be due, not to their own attitude and action, but to the pertinacity of the South.
Those capable of watching and comparing the symptoms of human action, have long felt assured that the permanent maintenance of the Union of all the States was not possible. Nor, if possible, could it always remain advantageous. Two separate groups, all the States in each of which have certain interests in common, are much more likely to flourish than one unwieldy group, which contains States whose views and general course of feeling are antagonistic. Much of the intensity of the Slave-principle (if it may be so called) in the South, is due to the Union. To meet the world in open competition, will impose on the South the necessity of putting forth energies which will not be found consistent with resting their social, productive, and political dependence on the Slave-principle. Hitherto, they have wrapped themselves in the mantle which the nominally Free States have spread over them before the world.
It is said, the "nominally Free States;" for it ought to be better understood in England than it is, what is the actual condition of the Negro in the so-called Free States. He is not treated there as a free inan, in any sense known to Englishmen. On the contrary, he is treated with a personal repugnance and loathing unknown in the South. However honest, industrious, intelligent, and worthy he may be, and however slight the taint of Negro blood that runs in his veins, he is treated, throughout the North, as belonging to a different and a lower race, with whom the White man, in his pride of mere colour, will not condescend to associate, or deal as an equal. It is not till the Negro reaches Canada, that he finds any notion in those around him that the words which stand at the beginning of the American Declaration of Independence have any truth or meaning, when they say, "That all men are created equal." (See after, p. 8.)
Much of the language which has been used as to the "secession" of the Southern States, is not consistent with the history of the country, or with the actual position of the States themselves. It is preposterous to talk of its being treason for any State to separate from the Union. The Colonies revolted against England; and the result is boasted of. But the link of the Colonies to England was very different from, and much more dependent than, that which binds the different States together. Each State has its own separate" Constitution," which affirms its own independence, and its own entire and exclusive right to regulate its internal government. For certain purposes, and certain purposes only, the States have banded together; but they are not one Nation, in any sense in which any State of Europe is a Nation. They have thus banded together by their own free and separate consent. If they had power thus to consent to the band, they have power to disjoin the band,-which professes, always, to touch nothing whatever of the internal administration of any State. This disjunction is not anarchy or revolt, in any such sense as would arise if Lancashire or Brittany were to seek separation from England or France.
It must not be forgotten that, as a matter of fact, there have been several former "Unions" among the States of North America, before the one that has lately been torn asunder. Each has given way to a newer one. And each, in turn, has been adopted by the States themselves, and has been joined by the separate consent of each ;-which consent has often been withheld for some years after the Union was otherwise in action, and has only at length been given under conditions. It shows, therefore, mere forgetfulness of history to speak of the present state of things as the anomaly and the thing of dread which many writers and speakers, both in America and in England, have got into the way of doing. Whether the secession of some of the States is a politic and wise thing on their parts, is an entirely different question. This it belongs only to themselves to settle. We may be assured that the sense of self-interest will be strong enough to make each and all of them anxious, as speedily as possible, to put things on such a footing as will least disturb their relations with other countries.
Law Reform.-The subjects of Consolidation of the Criminal Law, Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Transfer of Land, and "Establishing a Uniform System of Rating," were announced, in the same Speech, as about to be brought before Parliament.
The first three of these, are renewals of former efforts (see Parl. Rem. Vol. III. p. 2). It is only necessary at present to remark, as to any of them, that the important subject of Bankruptcy will not be left, this year, to the caprice or weakness of the Government. It was pointed out, last year, how unwise was the line followed by the Chambers of Commerce, in abandoning self-reliance, and leaning upon others (see Parl. Rem. Vol. III. pp. 2, 85). Happily, the Chambers of Commerce have now awakened to the folly of that course, and it has been determined, by those who represent these Bodies in a joint Committee of Delegates on this matter, that the Bill which was settled and agreed to by the Chambers of Commerce, and which was brought in during the Session of 1859, shall be brought in again early in the present Session. It is to be hoped that they will be wise enough to fulfil this resolution.
The proposal for altering the Law as to "rating" will need the gravest attention. It is further noticed below (see Friday).
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
THE HOUSE attended the QUEEN, to hear the SPEECH FROM THE THRONE.
New Writs.-Mr. SPEAKER acquainted the House that he had, during the recess, issued Warrants for New Writs, in the room of, Mr. Locke (Honiton), deceased; Mr. Ingram (Boston), deceased; Mr. Dunn (Dartmouth), deceased; Mr. Pigott (Reading), made Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man; Mr. Laing (Wick), made Member of Council of the Viceroy of India; Mr. Ridley (Newcastle-upon-Tyne), made Inclosure Commissioner; Admiral Sir C. Napier (Southwark), deceased; Viscount Newark (South Notts), taken seat as a Peer; Mr. Warre (Ripon), deceased; Earl of March (West Sussex), taken seat as a Peer; Viscount Emlyn (Pembroke County), taken seat as a Peer.
Elections.-The usual Orders were made, as to the time within which Returns of Members must be questioned (namely, within fourteen days after Return, or within twenty-eight days after an alleged bribery), and as to proceedings on double returns: and the usual Resolutions were passed, as to its being a "high infringement of the liberties and privileges of the Commons" for any Peer or Prelate (except a Peer of Ireland) to "concern himself in the election of Members to serve for the Commons in Parliament," or for any Lord-Lieutenant of any county to use his authority to influence an Election; and declaring that the House" will proceed with the utmost severity" in every case of " bribery or other corrupt practices." Witnesses.-Resolutions were also passed, declaring it to be a high crime and misdemeanor to tamper with any witness about to give evidence before the House or any Committee thereof; and that the House "will proceed with the utmost severity against such offender." The same threat is held before any person giving false evidence.
Outlawries Bill.-Read first time [pro forma]. (See above: LORDS.)
New Writs.-Ordered to be issued, in the room of, Mr. Sidney Herbert (South Wilts), created a Peer ; Mr. Crook (Bolton), made Steward of Hempholme; Mr. Titus Salt (Bradford), made Steward of Chiltern Hundreds; Lord Haddo (Aberdeen County), taken seat as a Peer.
Public Income and Expenditure.-Accounts ordered, and presented, for the year ended 30th September, 1860; also for the year ended 31st December, 1860.
Queen's Speech.-Reported by Mr. SPEAKER, and read to the House.
Address to the Crown.-Motion, by Sir E. COLEBROOKE,—for an Address to the Queen, in acknowledgment of the Speech, and adopting each of the clauses of that Speech seriatim:-to which an Amendment was moved, by Mr. WHITE,-" to add the words, Humbly to represent to Her Majesty, that Her Majesty's Government should, at an early day, introduce a measure for the extension of the Parliamentary Franchise in the Boroughs and Counties of the United Kingdom, in fulfilment of the express pledges given by Her Majesty's Government when they came into Office, and thus adopt a course calculated to increase the loyal devotion of Her Majesty's Subjects to Her Majesty's Throne and Person, and also satisfy the long deferred but just expectations of the Country."-Amendment lost, on Division, by 129 Noes, to 46 Ayes. Motion for Address, agreed to. Committee named, to draw it up.
This Division puts the Administration into a position of great difficulty and delicacy. It is less than two years (and not "many years," as is stated by a Journal which, while pretending to be the "leading" one of Europe, is chiefly distinguished by the exhibition of either an astounding ignorance of the facts both of history and of passing events, or by the deliberate attempt, every day, to mislead the public as to these),—it is less than two years since an Amendment to the Address was moved and seconded, and a Division taken upon it (see Parl. Rem. Vol. II. pp. 91, 93). The Amendment was carried, in that case, by the very narrow majority of 13. That Amendment was framed with exactly the same idea as the present one; and it was the solemn and emphatic pledge then given, by those who now form the leading members of the Government, to make a Reform Bill the sine qua non of their administration, that alone enabled them to carry that Amendment, even by the narrow majority of 13. That majority was due to the 46 who have now proclaimed that, as Government has repudiated its part of the bargain, they will assert their own independence. Government is therefore now in a large actual minority in the House.
The pretended reason for this repudiation is, self-evidently, fallacious. For year after year, the Queen's Speech has announced the necessity and intention of bringing in a Reform Bill. It is the part of a Statesman to understand the wants of the times, and to forestall public dissatisfaction by constitutional adaptations, made wisely and in time. And the Good Faith of men in Office, is the first duty they owe to the State. It has now become demonstrated, that the name and promise of a Reform Bill have only been used as a piece of political machinery, convenient as a stalking horse to selfish ends. Of the merits of the Bills of 1859 and of 1860, it is unnecessary to say a word. Whether or not, in itself, a Reform Bill is wanted, it is quite beside the question to consider. The present Government got office by affirming that, without bringing in a good Reform Bill, no Government could “ possess the confidence of this House and of the country." They thus undertook to say that such a measure was necessary; and they pledged their honour, as men and as politicians, to the existence of this necessity and to the determination to meet it. They brought in a Bill last year, with the clearly foregone determination that it should not pass. They now altogether repudiate their pledge, and laugh to scorn those who were weak enough to trust to their sense of honour. In effect, they say: You trusted our good faith: we repudiate all faith: if you want to make us honest, you must create a disturbance through the land." And this is all they have to say. But they all stop in office. This is certainly a new phase of Government morality. There might have been fifty reasons to give why a measure promised year after year for nine years should have suddenly become not wanted. Foreign relations, and many other things, might have made it unwise to press the measure. But the reasons actually assigned for the course the Government has taken, are, in the highest degree, alarming to every one who values the respectability, the dignity, and the honour, of the Government of his country; in which are involved, especially at this time, so much of the credit and the hopes of Constitutional Government in general.
Wednesday: 6th February.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Standing Orders.-Select Committee hereon, nominated.
This Committee, and the one next named, are appointed at the beginning of every Session, under Standing Orders of the House.
Committee of Selection.-Nominated.
Private Bills. The following were, on Petition from those concerned, ordered to be brought in:Great Western Railway; Shrewsbury, Oswestry, and Ellesmere Railway; Wrexham and Minera Railway; Ludlow and Clee Hill Railway; Bishop Stortford, Dunmow, and Braintree Railway; Stockport, Timperley, and Altrincham Junction Railway; Mid-Devon and Cornwall Railway; Dewsbury, Batley, and Heckmondwike Water; Llantrissant and Taff Vale Junction Railway; Blackpool and Lytham Railway; Bishop's Castle Railway; Kilkenny Market; North-eastern Railway (Blaydon to Conside); Stockton and Darlington Railway (New Railway at Marske and Skelton, etc.); Wallasey Improvement; Northeastern Railway (Extension to Otley, etc.); Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway (Additional Works); Stockton and Darlington, South Durham and Lancashire Union, and Eden Valley Railway Companies Amalgamation; Dublin Corporation Water; Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway (Manchester Extension); Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (Extension to Settle); Midland Railway (Ashchurch and Evesham Line); Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (Branches to Shawforth, etc.); Hereford, Hay, and Brecon Railway; Ware, Hadham, and Buntingford Railway; Bradford, Wakefield, and Leeds Railway; Chard and Taunton Railway; Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax Junction Railway; Monmouthshire Railway and Canal (New Lines, etc.); Monmouthshire Railway and Canal (Purchase, etc.); Shrewsbury and Welchpool Railway; Mold and Denbigh Junction Railway; Nantwich and Market Drayton Railway; Oswestry, Ellesmere, and Whitchurch Railway; South Shields Improvements and Quay; South-eastern Railway (Folkestone Harbour, etc.); Marton and Harbury Railway; Swansea Harbour Trust; South-eastern Railway (Capital, etc.); Oswestry and Newtown Railway (Branches, etc.); Liverpool Cemetery; Berwick, Norham, and Islandshires Roads; Edenfield Chapel to Little Bolton Road; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Derwent, and Weardale Railway; Sowerby Bridge Gas-Consumers; Sherborne Railway; Alcester Railway; Great Northern Railway (Doncaster to Wakefield); Much Wenlock, etc., Railway; Bristol and South Wales Union Railway; East Suffolk Railway; Tyne Coal Drainage; Waveney Valley Railway; Kingston-upon-Hull Docks (Capital); Cradley Heath and Dudley Railway; Shirley Railway; South Wales Mineral Railway; Worcester, Bromyard, and Leominster Railway; Lynn and Hunstanton Railway; Garston and Liverpool Railway; West Hartlepool Harbour and Railway (Capital, etc.); West Hartlepool Harbour and Railway (Running Powers, etc.); Cleveland Railway; Blyth and Tyne Railway; Worksop and Staveley Railway; Great Northern Railway (Purchase of Hertford, etc., Railway); London and North-western, Great Northern, and Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Companies; Kingston-upon-Hull Docks (New Works); Cockermouth, Keswick, and Penrith Railway; Swansea and Neath Railway; Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (New Line, etc.); Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (Wigan to Clifton, etc.).
The number of Private Bills applied for in this Session is so great,-not less than 399,-that it will be useful to recall attention to the rules by which the stages of these are to be guided. This is the more desirable, inasmuch as there are many persons who think it a mark of prudence to say they will wait, and will see what is done with a Bill, before they take any step as to it. Great is the mischief often thus done. By such unwise delay, the time during which negotiation might have taken place, to the advantage of all parties, has slipped away, and it becomes necessary either to petition against the Bill, and oppose it before Committee, or to abandon all hope of getting any modification whatever. Time can never be trifled with, in the case of Private Bills, without irreparable loss.
Every Private Bill is required, by the Standing Orders of the House, to be read a first time not later than one clear day after the presentation of the Petition; or, in the few cases where the Petition is referred to the Standing Orders Committee on some special point, not later than one clear day after leave has been given to proceed with the Bill. It follows, that every one of the Bills named above, must be read a first time tomorrow, or it is dropped for the Session.
Having been read the first time, there cannot, by the same Standing Orders, be less than three clear days, nor more than seven, before the second reading. If, as occasionally happens, a Bill read a first time has been referred back, so that a Report of the Examiners, or of the Standing Orders Committee, becomes necessary, the second reading must not be later than seven days after a Report is made.
Petitions against Private Bills must be lodged in the Private Bill Office not later than seven days after the second reading of the Bill, except when some fresh matter arises during the progress of the Bill.
When the Bill has once been committed to the Select Committee, it is too late to fall back upon any defects through non-compliance with Standing Orders, such as, that no application for Assent or Dissent was received, or otherwise. Unless by special order of the House, no Committee can examine into any such
The mischief of delaying till a Bill is actually brought in, and the fatal consequences of slowness afterwards, will thus be plainly seen.
New Writ.-Ordered to be issued, in the room of Mr. Deasy (Cork County), made Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland.
Queen's Speech.-ADDRESS in acknowledgment, brought up by Committee. Agreed to.
Qualification for Offices.-Committee. Resolved, to ask Leave to bring in a Bill, to render it unnecessary to make and subscribe certain declarations as a qualification for Offices and Employments. Reported. Bill ordered accordingly. Whereupon,
Qualification for Offices Bill.-Brought in by Mr. HADFIELD. Read first time. Second reading on 20th February.
Thursday: 7th February.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Private Bills.-Ordered, That no ordinary Petition for a Private Bill will be received after 26th March; nor any Petition for a Private Bill approved by the Court of Chancery, after 16th May; nor will the House, after the latter day, receive any Report from the Judges upon a Petition for a Private Bill.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Queen's Speech.-An Answer to the Address was brought up.
Private Bills.-The following were, on Petition from those concerned, ordered to be brought in :— Hull West Dock; Stourbridge Railway (Extension to Smethwick, etc.); Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway; Inverness and Aberdeen Junction, and Inverness and Nairn Railway Companies Amalgamation; Inverness and Perth Junction Railway; Ross and Monmouth Railway; Ellesmere and Whichurch Railway; Baggymore, Baschurch, etc., Drainage and Improvement; Mayo, County of (Grand Jury Cess); United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Company; Cork, Blarney, and Macroom Railway; Rathkeale and Newcastle Junction Railway; Great Southern and Western Railway (Capital, etc.); Sowerby Bridge Gas; Great Northern and Western (of Ireland) Railway; Great Southern and Western Railway (Extension); Limerick and Foynes Railway; East India Irrigation Canal Company; Kingston-upon-Thames and Leatherhead Road; Huddersfield Gas; Midland Railway (Otley and Ilkley Extension); Midland Railway (Tibshelf and Tiversall, etc., Branches); Dublin and Meath Railway; Banbridge Extension Railway; Strathspey Railway; London Tramway and Despatch Company; Downpatrick and Newry Junction Railway; Enniskillen and Bundoran Railway; Kilkenny Junction Railway; Cheshire Midland Railway; Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford Railway; Somerset Central Railway; Andover and Redbridge Railway; Workington Tidal Basin and Railway; Kilrush and Kilkee Railway, and Poulnasherry Reclamation; Clifton Suspension Bridge; Shadwell Ferry; West Midland Railway (New Line, etc.); Mid-eastern and Great Northern Junction Railway; Whitehaven, Cleator, and Egremont Railway; Cork and Macroom Direct Railway; Southampton and Netley Railway; Nantlle Railway; Caledonian, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Scottish Central Railways; Witney Railway; London and North-western, Lancaster and Carlisle, and Caledonian Railways; Kirkcudbright Railway; Vale of Clwyd Railway.
Private Bills. Most of the Bills yesterday ordered to be brought in, were now read first time. Queen's Speech.-Considered. Motion:-"That a Supply be granted to Her Majesty." Committee thereupon to-morrow.
Bank of England (Consolidated Fund).-Committee. Resolutions passed, (1) making sums due to the Bank of England, as the charge for managing the National Debt, to be payable henceforth out of the Consolidated Fund; (2) that certain deductions from the foregoing charges, amounting to £188,078 in all, shall henceforth be paid over,-£60,000 to the Inland Revenue, and £128,078 to the Exchequer, to form part of the Miscellaneous Revenue.-To be reported to-morrow.
These resolutions are stated to be parts of a new plan of arrangement between the Government and the Bank of England, the whole of which plan will presently be embodied in a Bill.
Parochial Assessments Bill,-"To amend the Law relating to Parochial Assessments in England.” Ordered to be brought in by Government. (See above, p. 1: "Select Vestries Bill.")
Highways Bill," For the better management of Highways in England." Ordered to be brought in by Government. (See above, p. 1: "Select Vestries Bill.")
Business of the House.-Motion, by Lord PALMERSTON,-"That a Select Committee be appointed, to consider whether, by any alterations in the Forms and Proceedings of this House, the despatch of Public Business can be more effectually promoted." Amendment, by Mr. HORSMAN,-to insert (after "House") the words "and by a more careful preparation of measures, their early introduction, the judicious distribution of business between the two Houses, and the order and method with which measures are conducted." After debate, Amendment withdrawn. Original Motion agreed to. (See Friday: LORDS.)
The debate upon this motion was wholly unworthy of the great importance of what is involved in it. And it is not a little remarkable, that Mr. Horsman's Amendment, which grappled with what are really practical mischiefs of a notorious character, found no sympathy, either from Government (which was not indeed to be expected), or from the House. It would seem from this, that the House is content to sink into the mere Registrar of the orders of Government. Possibly, however, on the nomination of the Committee, more independence of spirit, and a more lively sense of the vast importance of the questions that are actually involved, will be shown. It will be well, therefore, to reserve, till then, any fuller exposition of the very wide practical bearings of the subject. But it must be well understood, that it is one that most closely touches the power of vigilant watchfulness over the right administration of the Law, and the maintenance of the liberties and Institutions of the country in all their branches. It does not, by any means, concern only the comfort and convenience of Members of Parliament.
In one form or other, the subject came under attention several times during the last Session; and it will be useful to recall, now, the instances of this.
Mr. Bouverie, on 26th January, tried to shut out the opportunity for questioning Ministers, and bringing forward topics of public interest, on the Friday motion for adjournment; but he was, happily, defeated, on Division, by a very large majority (Parl. Rem. Vol. III. p. 3). On the 22nd March, Mr. Paull brought forward a motion, that Government Orders of the day should take precedence of Notices of Motion, upon Thursdays instead of Fridays; which was, after debate, negatived (ib. p. 69). On 2nd April, Lord Palmerston brought forward a motion partially carrying out Mr. Paull's proposal; and this was only agreed to after two Divisions, both of them narrow ones (ib. p. 82). On 22nd May, the same motion was extended (ib. p. 134; and see pp. 162 and 208). On 16th July, Mr. Newdegate proposed a very practical Resolution, which, if carried, would be of very great service to the interests of the Public, as well as to the health of Members (ib. p. 191). It was, in substance, that no business on which debate could arise, should be begun after one o'clock in the morning. This is the favourite hour to begin pushing through Bills that have other interests than those of the public as the chief motive of their promoters. On the 19th July, Lord Derby moved for a Select Committee" to inquire into and consider the best mode of carrying on the Parliamentary business:" but, after debate, the motion was withdrawn (ib. p. 197). His own proposals did not seem to show that the subject had received very full consideration from his Lordship. On 31st July, Mr. Ewart brought forward a set of Resolutions on the subject, which were also, after debate, withdrawn (ib. p. 215). But it was upon this occasion that Government promised to propose a Select Committee on the subject in the present Session. Finally, Mr. Duncombe moved, on 24th August, two Resolutions, to be embodied in Standing Orders, each of which was directly practical. But both were withdrawn, on the understanding that the whole subject should be considered by the promised Select Committee in the present Session (ib. p. 243). The terms of reference to that Select Committee were not, however, settled.
Among the Notices given at the end of the Session, was a set of Resolutions by Mr. Ewart, differing much from those already named as having been proposed by the same gentleman during the Session, but having the same general objects in view (Parl. Rem. Vol. III. pp. 246, 247).
It must be observed, that the attempts made by Government, during the Session of 1860, to over-ride the