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ordinary course of Parliamentary procedure, were very numerous. (See, e. g., Parl. Rem. Vol. III. pp. 82, 123, 202.) It becomes, therefore, obviously of the highest importance to watch, with the most cautious jealousy, both the construction of the Committee to which the Government will propose to refer this very important matter, and the suggestions which may be brought before that Committee from any either actually or prospectively official quarters.
Church Rates Abolition Bill,-"To abolish Church Rates." Brought in by Sir J. TRELAWNY. Read first time. Second reading on Wednesday, 27th February.
This is the same Bill as was brought in last year. Some of the considerations arising out of the renewed proposal of it are so important, that an opportunity will be taken, nearer to the day of second reading, of putting them on record.
Charities Bill,-"To remove doubts as to the eligibility of certain persons to be Trustees of certain Charities." Brought in by Mr. DILLWYN. Read first time. Second reading on Wednesday next.
Friday: 8th February.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Indictable Offences (Metropolitan District) Bill,-"To make better Provision concerning the procedure against persons charged with indictable offences within the Metropolitan District." Brought in by Lord CHELMSFORD. Read first time. Second reading on Monday next.
Queen's Speech.-An Answer to the Address was brought up. Address and Answer ordered to be printed and published.
Fictitious Savings-Banks Bill,-"To make Provision against the establishment or maintenance of fictitious Savings-Banks or Banks purporting to be Savings-Banks not authorized by Law" [sic]. Brought in by Lord MONTEAGLE of Brandon. Read first time. Second reading on Tuesday next.
Public Business of the House.-Motion, by Earl GRANVILLE,-"That a Select Committee be appointed to consider and report, whether, by any alterations in the Forms and Proceedings of this House, the despatch of Public Business can be more effectually promoted,"-agreed to.
The debate upon this motion in the House of Lords, was very much more worthy of the subject, and showed a much clearer notion of what is wanted, than can be said of the debate in the Commons, on the same motion, on Thursday. (See before, p. 6.)
The 29th Canon.-Lord EBURY asked for copies of any Petition presented to Her Majesty by the Convocation of Canterbury, for altering the 29th Canon of 1603; and of the Royal License granted to the Convocation of Canterbury for altering that Canon.
The consent of the Crown to the revision of this Canon, was given in May of last year. See Parl. Rem. Vol. III. p. 136. Lord Ebury gave notice, last Session, that he should, in the present Session, propose some amendment of the Acts of Uniformity. See Parl. Rem. Vol. III. pp. 25, 54, Î17.
Houses of Ill-fame Bill," For more effectually preventing and punishing the keeping of Houses of Ill-fame." Brought in by the BISHOP OF OXFORD. Read first time. Second reading on 26th February. Protection of Female Children Bill,-"To amend the Statute 9 Gco. IV. c. 31, and 14 & 15 Vict. c. 100, section 29." Brought in by the BISHOP OF OXFORD. Read first time. Second reading on 26th February.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Private Bills.-The Chairman of Committees reported a list of Bills, which it had been determined should begin in the House of Lords (see Parl. Rem. Vol. II. p. 9). Orders were made for referring these Bills to the Examiners, on their coming from the Lords.
Private Bills.-The following were, on Petition from those concerned, ordered to be brought in :Midland Railway (Whitacre and Nuneaton); London and North-western Railway (Eccles, Tyldesly, and Wigan); London and North-Western Railway (Manchester London Road Station); London and NorthWestern, and Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railways (Manchester London Road Station); North-Eastern and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Carlisle Railway Companies Amalgamation; Penarth Harbour, Dock, and Railway; Burton-upon-Trent Water; Leven and East of Fife Railway Companies (Amalgamation, etc.); Universal Lime Light Company; Portadown, Dungannon, and Omagh Junction Railway; Hull and Doncaster Railway; Barnsley Coal Railway; Thames Embankment; Cork and Youghal Railway; Atherstone and Whitacre Railway; Disley and Hayfield Railway; Petersfield Railway (Extension to Southampton); Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway; Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway (Additional Money); Biddenden and Stockershead Roads; Scottish North-eastern Railway; Sittingbourne and Sheerness Railway; Londonderry and Coleraine Railway.
Private Bills. Most of the Bills yesterday ordered to be brought in, were now read first time. The Trial of the Druse Chiefs in Syria.-It was stated, on behalf of Government, that the so-called trial of the Druse Chiefs who voluntarily surrendered themselves, has not been a fair one; but that none of them would be executed without the evidence on which they were convicted being seen and considered by the Commissioners of England and other Powers in Syria.
It was, last year, admitted by the English Government, that the Maronites were the aggressors, and not the Druses (see Parl. Rem. Vol. III. pp. 218, 238). The truly Christian spirit of those pretended" Christians" on whose behalf the sympathies of Europe were invoked, as the first step to a French occupation of Syria, is well shown in a statement made by Lord John Russell, on the above occasion, that the Christian Bishops had signed a paper, on the part of the Christians, requiring that, out of 8,000 (the total male adult Druses) no fewer than 4,600 should be now put to death. It is, of course, safer to commit wholesale murder under the mask of "convictions," than it is to run the risk, as before, of resistance and retaliation. See, on the occupation of Syria, before, p. 2.
The Grant to Hyder Ali's Family.-Detailed statements of fact were made, on behalf of Government, to show that the allowance lately settled on this family has been neither an act of sudden caprice, nor one unrequired by policy and binding obligations.
Canada Extradition Case.—It was stated, on behalf of Government, that, on the 9th of January, the Colonial Secretary wrote, to the Governor-General of Canada, that he was not to surrender Anderson to the American Government, until he had received positive instructions from this Government to do so; and further, that, in the opinion of Government, the interpretation of the Ashburton Treaty is as clear as day, namely, that, when a criminal is claimed, it must be shown that he was guilty of a crime mentioned in the Treaty, and liable to be prosecuted for that crime according to the law of the land in which he was captured. Nothing can be more satisfactory, or more honourable to the English Government, than the course that has been taken in this very important and most interesting case. But it must be permitted to say, that some circumstances connected with the present state of general opinion on it, are not quite so honourable to others. Plagiarism is a very common offence, and can but rarely be clearly proved. In the present instance it happens to be capable of demonstration. And some indignation must be expressed at the careful suppression, by public writers since 7th January, of all acknowledgment of the hand that first ventured to dispute the soundness of the judgment of the Canadian Court, and which so conclusively demonstrated the unsoundness of that judgment as to have produced the present happy result.
It must be added here, that Lord Brougham, in a letter that has lately been widely printed, has made a very odd mistake, which ought to be corrected. He says, that "the declaration of the law which pronounced a slave free as soon as he touched British ground" is "erroneously ascribed to the English Courts under Lord Mansfield, but was really made by the Judges in Scotland." The source of this mistake is easy to see. In the 20th Volume of the State Trials, there is mention made, in a note to Sommersett's case, of some cases in the Scotch Courts. But these were not decided before Sommersett's case, but afterwards. On the other hand, it was fully shown, in the argument on this subject that was published on 7th January, and which is above alluded to, that the Principle has been declared, for centuries, by the Common Law of England. The whole case depends on this, that the law of England refuses even to recognize the status of Slavery, or "any of the conditions or obligations that are supposed to arise out of it." In the fifth year of Queen Anne (more than 150 years before Sommersett's case, or the Scotch cases), a case was adjudged, in the English Court of Queen's Bench, in which it was laid down, that "The Common Law takes no notice of Negroes being different from other men. By the Common Law, no man can have a property in another." Poor Relief.-Motion, by Mr. VILLIERS,-"That a Select Committee be appointed, to inquire into the Administration of the Relief of the Poor, under the Orders, Rules, and Regulations, issued by the Poor Law Commissioners and the Poor Law Board, pursuant to the provisions of the Poor Law Amendment Act," agreed to, with the addition of the words, " and into the operation of the Laws relating to the Relief of the Poor" (proposed, after debate, by the HOME SECRETARY).
It will be obvious, that the entire value of this Committee must depend on the nomination of it. If Government are allowed to nominate a number of gentlemen whose opinions or prejudices may be considered "safe in support of bureaucratic encroachment, the Committee will be nothing but a delusion and a mockery. This happened, unfortunately, with a too notorious Committee in the last Session (on the Kensington Museum). The very great importance of the present subject, ought to inspire all Members with the determination to see that the nomination is thoroughly impartial, and thoroughly certain to hear full evidence, and to consider the subject in no narrow or doctrinaire spirit.
Printing.-Select Committee appointed, and nominated," to assist Mr. Speaker in all matters which relate to the printing executed by order of this House, and for the purpose of selecting and arranging for printing, Returns and Papers presented in pursuance of Motions made by Members of this House."
Gloucester City and Wakefield Writs.-Ordered, That no Motion for the issuing of any New Writ for the City of Gloucester or the Borough of Wakefield, be made without seven days' previous Notice thereof being given in the Votes.
Supply.-Committee. Queen's Speech read. Resolved,-"That a Supply be granted to Her Majesty." To be reported on Monday.
Bank of England (Consolidated Fund).-Resolutions of yesterday, agreed to. Bill ordered to be brought in accordingly. Whereupon,—
Bank of England Payments Bill.-"To make further provisions respecting certain payments to and from the Bank of England." Brought in. Read first time. Second reading on Thursday next.
Red Sea and India Telegraph Company.-Committee. Resolution, authorizing a guarantee of a minimum dividend of four and a half per cent. on certain bond fide capital. To be reported on Monday. Post Office Savings-Banks (Consolidated Fund).-Committee. Resolution, charging upon the Consolidated Fund any deficiency, in sums held on account of Post Office Savings- Banks, to meet claims established by Law. To be reported on Monday.
Parochial Assessments Bill.-Brought in. Read first time. Second reading on Thursday next. This Bill is not yet delivered. It will, necessarily, be one of first-rate importance to all places, and all Public Companies, throughout the kingdom. Nothing can justify the appointment of so early a day for the second reading. The subject should have immediate attention from all who value the sound and economical management of local affairs, or the maintenance of the principles of intelligent Self-Government. When the Bill is delivered, the subject will be more fully considered.
Highways Bill.-Brought in. Read first time. Second reading on Monday, 18th February.
Forgetful of the reason assigned on Tuesday night, for not bringing in another Bill, this Bill is again pressed on, though it is notorious, and is admitted by its promoters, that its origin is only due to backstairs influence; and though, in the last Session, Public Opinion was most clearly expressed against it in more than 350 petitions, while none could be got up in its favour except from a few of those to whom, at the expense of the Public welfare, it proposes to give an augmentation of personal influence and authority.
London: Printed by JOHN EDWARD TAYLOR, at his Office, No. 10, Little Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields (W.C.); by whom Subscribers' names are received.-All Subscriptions must be paid in advance.
N.B. All the back Numbers for the Year will be supplied to New Subscribers.
Statute Law Revision Bill,-"For repealing divers Acts and parts of Acts which have ceased to be in force." Brought in by the LORD CHANCELLOR. Read first time.
A Bill under the same title was nominally brought in at the close of the last Session. See Parl. Rem. Vol. III. p. 243, and the references there given.
There can be no Bill in the present Session that will need more cautious consideration than this. Parlia ment will grievously betray its duty, if it consent to the repeal, at one fell swoop, of a mass of Acts of Parliament, merely because somebody chooses to say that they "have ceased to be in force." When the Bill is printed, its details will be fully considered.
Private Bills.-The following were brought in, and read first time (see before, p. 7) :-Alva Railway; Blackburn Water; Bonelli's Electric Telegraph Company; Caledonian Railway (Cleland, etc., Branches); Caledonian Railway (Rutherglen and Coatbridge Branches); Clitheroe Gas; Cornwall Railway; Dewsbury and Batley Gas; Dumfries, Lochmaben, and Lockerby Junction Railway (Deviation at Dumfries); Dunblane, Doune, and Callander Railway; Edgware, Highgate, and London Railway; Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee Railway; Fife and Kinross Railway; Grand Junction Water; Great North of Scotland Railway; Haslingden Union Gas; Kensington Station and North and South London Junction Railway; Kinrossshire Railway; Metropolitan Railway (Extension to Finsbury Circus); Metropolitan Railway (Improvements, etc.); Northampton Water; North British and Peebles Railway Companies; North London Railway (Branch to the City); Northern Assurance Company; Portsea Gas; South Essex Water; Southwark and Vauxhall Water; Swansea Gas; Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway.
The details of Practice as to Private Bills, differ somewhat, in the Lords, from those in the Commons. But they are substantially the same in all points that call for promptness in attention, by all parties concerned, to the successive stages of such Bills.
Indictable Offences (Metropolitan District) Bill.-Read second time. Committee on Tuesday, 19th of February.
This is the same Bill that was before Parliament last year. It was shown, when it was then brought in, and also in 1859, that the Bill is one which involves principles that are of the highest importance to the administration of Justice (see Parl. Rem. Vol. II. p. 47; ib. Vol. III. p. 25). It is such Bills as this that enable thinking men to see, whether the fundamental principles on which the administration of Justice in England has, in the best times, been always held to rest, are understood and appreciated by those who happen to have become prominent as successful practising Lawyers, or whether some of the pretensions of Law Reform are no better than occasions which, as was said by the accomplished Baron Alderson," are enough to make a thoughtful man sad," when "principles become nothing, and expediency (how I hate the word!) everything."
The very exceptions which this Bill makes, prove that there is a flaw in its logic. "Treason" and "Nuisances" (an odd conjunction) are excepted from its operation; and the procedure on a Coroner's Inquisition is declared to be unaffected by it. The principle on which the last of these rests, seems to be beyond the comprehension of many of those whose duty it is to help in the administration of justice. Cases have several times occurred, in which, merely because a Grand Jury has ignored an entirely unnecessary Bill, the Coroner's Inquisition has been let fall to the ground. An instance of this is reported to have occurred on the last Midland Circuit. The Judge and Counsel show equal want of conception of the Principles of our Institutions, when such things can happen.
Public Business of the House.-Committee nominated (see before, p. 7).-Ordered, That the Committee have power to communicate from time to time with the Select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to consider whether, by any alterations in the forms and proceedings of that House, the despatch of Public Business can be more effectually promoted.
It is rather curious that the only matter that is seriously complained of, as against the Lords, touching the course of Public Business through that House, is, the Resolution which is usually passed, not to take up Bills that are brought from the Commons after a fixed day. It is pretended that this is an infringement upon "prerogative," and upon the rights of the Commons. Nothing can be more palpably absurd. Each House of Parliament is bound to secure for itself time to consider every Bill. The policy has lately been, to thrust Bills forcibly down the throats of the Lords, as well as the Commons. The abovenamed Resolutions of the Lords, have simply shown an independence which the Commons are wanting in. They are thoroughly sound and thoroughly constitutional; and they have very often operated as the only protection to the people against empirical and jobbing legislation. It is only the enemies of free discussion that can object to the adoption of such a rule by either House of the Legislature. (See Parl. Rem. Vol. I. p. 54; ib. Vol. III. pp. 159, 192.) If either House can discuss, and agree to or reject, a Bill, it clearly can, and ought to, ensure to itself the opportunity for full consideration of every Bill.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Private Bills.-The following were, on Petition from those concerned, ordered to be brought in :— Newgate and Metropolitan Meat and Poultry Markets; London, Chatham, and Dover Railway (Lease of Margate Railway, etc.); London, Chatham, and Dover Railway (Deviations, etc.); Swansea Vale Railway; Scottish Widows' Fund and Life Assurance Society; North-Eastern Railway (Castleton and Grosmont Branch, etc.); Horsham and Guildford Direct Railway; New Ross Port and Harbour; London and NorthWestern Railway (Chester and Holyhead Railway); Midland Railway (Additional Powers); Kendal Fell;
Elton and Blackburn Roads; Oldham and Ripponden Roads; Liverpool Improvement; Kingstown Improvement; South Wales Railway; Margate Railway (Ramsgate Extension, etc.); Clifton and Durdham Downs (Bristol); Street Rail Company; Dublin (City) Steam Packet Company; Neath Water; Walton and Edgehill Junction Railway; North Somerset Railway; Birmingham Canal Navigations.
Private Bills.-Most of the Bills ordered to be brought in on Friday last, were now read first time. East Indian Finances.-Detailed Statements were made, on behalf of Government, to show that the new Indian Loan is required for the purpose of meeting, not any falling off in the general revenue, but, the immediate exigencies of Railway works in India; and that such reductions have already been made in general expenditure, and are further confidently looked forward to, as will bring income and expenditure to balance each other in 1861-62.
Supply.-Resolution of Friday reported. Agreed to.
Red Sea and India Telegraph Company.-Resolution of Friday last, reported. Agreed to. Bill ordered to be brought in. Whereupon,
Red Sea and India Telegraph Bill,-" For amending the Red Sea and India Telegraph Act, 1859.” Brought in. Read first time. Second reading on Thursday.
This Bill seems to rise up, at this early moment of the Session, as if in confirmation of the warning which has so often been repeated in the pages of the Parliamentary Remembrancer. A stranger might suppose that the taxes in England are so light, that there is such difficulty in knowing how to dispose of the willingly-given surplus resources of the country,-that a small matter of £800,000 is a thing that there is only too much gladness to sink, deliberately, at the bottom of the sea. Attention was particularly called, in 1859, to the Company, and the dealings with it, to which the present Bill relates (see Parl. Rem. Vol. II. p. 124; and compare ib. Vol. III. pp. 3, 73). Parliament, however, remained then indifferent to a matter that really touched the fulfilment of its own first duties. The proposed work has proved a failure. All questions as to mismanagement, etc.,-which have been challenged,-are carefully hushed up; and this is done with the connivance, now, in Parliament, of all the pure patriots whose virtue would be outraged by a loose sixpence spent over National Defence. The present Bill proposes, that the taxpayers of Great Britain shall be taxed, for fifty years, for the payment of four and a half per cent. upon £800,000; in return for which, the State has got nothing whatever. See Parl. Rem. Vol. III. pp. 262, 263.
Post Office Savings-Banks.-Resolution of Friday last, reported. Agreed to. Bill ordered to be brought in. Whereupon,
Post Office Savings-Banks Bill,-"To grant additional facilities for depositing small savings at interest, with the security of the Government for due repayment thereof." Brought in. Read first time. Second reading on Monday next.
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill,-"To amend the Law relating to Bankruptcy and Insolvency in England." Brought in by Government. Read first time. Second reading on Thursday.
Births, Deaths, and Marriages (Ireland) Bill," For the Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, in Ireland." Brought in by Government. Read first time. Second reading on 21st February. Markets and Fairs (Ireland) Bill," For the better regulation of Markets and Fairs in Ireland.” Brought in by Government. Read first time. Second reading on 21st February.
Chatham Dockyard Enlargement Bill,-"To enable the Admiralty to acquire property for the enlargement of Her Majesty's Dockyard at Chatham, in the county of Kent, and to embank part of the River Medway, and for other purposes connected therewith." Brought in by Government. Read first time.
Royal Marine Barracks (East Stonehouse, Devon) Bill,-"To enable the Admiralty to acquire property for the enlargement of the Royal Marine Barracks, in the parish of East Stonehouse, in the County of Devon." Brought in by Government. Read first time.
Business of the House.-Ordered, That the Select Committee on Business of the House do consist of twenty-one Members. Committee nominated.
It is not satisfactory to observe, that this Committee was nominated without any further discussion of the matter being raised in the House (see before, p. 6). Nor is the composition of the Committee such as can be deemed very hopeful. More than half its number consists of persons who either now are in Office, or have been in Office and expect to be so again. The jury is therefore not "indifferently chosen;" for it is, quite naturally, the wish of all Officials and expectant Officials to get rid, as much as possible, of the opportunities for questioning their actions and discussing their proposals.
The Business of the House consists of three distinct branches ;-a distinction which is often forgotten, but which it is of the highest importance should be always borne in mind, as well by Members of Parliament as by the Public.
These three branches are, (1) General watchfulness over the maintenance of the Institutions of the land, and over the right administration of the law, and over the fulfilment of their duties by the different departments of the State; (2) The consideration of Public Bills; (3) The consideration of Private Bills. Of these three, the first is, by very far, the most important; and it is the one of which all governments are always the most impatient.
That the very primary purpose of the existence of Parliament is, the maintenance of the Law and the redress of Grievances which happen, has often been shown in the Parliamentary Remembrancer. The more frequent the opportunities of fulfilling this function, and the more faithfully those opportunities are availed of, the more truly and thoroughly does the House of Commons fulfil the end of its existence. Every attempt to curtail those opportunities, is an act of Treason to the State and such attempts show, moreover, in such a State as England, a singular want of foresight. Where the interests of the State reach to all quarters of the globe, and the activity of the Home population is exercised in a numberless variety of ways, it is impossible but that wrong should sometimes (even unwittingly), be done, or some interests be touched, or dangers be threatened, or, on the other hand, that misrepresentations should sometimes (without any dishonest intention) get abroad. The few days of the present Session have been enough to illustrate the unspeakable importance of this branch of the functions of Parliament. The honour of the English name has been vindicated, by explanations given as to the treatment of the Druse Chiefs in Syria; great misapprehension has been dispelled, as to the grant to the Mysore Princes (family of Hyder Ali); the public conscience has been eased, by the unequivocal declaration as to the Canada Extradition case; hope and confidence have replaced doubt
and despondency, by explanations as to the Indian Finances; that Government has not wholly neglected the interests it is appointed to guard, has been shown in the answers touching Mexico and San Juan; that the rejection of a witness in a Court of Law, which seemed a heavy grievance, was not an act of mere caprice, has been made plain, and the question of the policy of the Law left for Parliament to deal with. A vast number of other illustrations, as to both Home affairs and Foreign affairs, might be recited from the former Volumes of this work. All point one moral :—that there is no part of the functions of Parliament which is so important to the public welfare, or which, in the result, so fully tends to the maintenance of a good understanding between the Government and the country, as the practical watchfulness by Parliament of, and questionings in Parliament upon, things that arise touching the maintenance of the Laws and Institutions of the State and the interests of the citizens.
And there is no part of the functions of Parliament that does, in point of fact, occupy so little time as the fulfilment of this first branch of its business. Formerly, every Petition was obliged to have an answer given to it, a great protection to the Public against misdoing. The giving full attention to Petitions, has already been abolished by a Reformed Parliament. It is now pretended, that no motion ought to be let be interposed before Supply. If redress of grievances was ever right, as a condition of the grant of Supply, the bringing forward of any matter that concerns the public interests, as a preliminary to any Vote of Supply, is clearly right now, when every single Vote puts power and influence into the hands of an Administration, whose authority, unless kept within restraint, is far greater than that which any King of England ever wielded. See, on some of the points touching this branch, Parl. Rem. Vol. III. pp. 3, 5, 82.
As to Public Bills, which take up so much of the time of Parliament, the great mischief of the present day is, Over-legislation. The tone of public morality and patriotism has become so much lowered, of late years, that there is the continually increasing tendency, in people whose fathers were Englishmen, to prostrate themselves before Governments and Parliaments, and crave, at the hands of the latter, the doing, for them, that which, if they had the spirit of men and of Englishmen, they would do, as they have full opportunity and Institutions enabling them to do, for themselves. Governments get dragged into yielding to this system. Hence we see, at this moment, the ridiculous contradiction, that, while there is much talk of Consolidation of the Law, it was lately thought a very clever thing, by public writers, to abuse Parliament for having neglected legislation in the last Session, when, in point of fact, it passed 154 New Statutes-only one hundred and fifty-four new Laws in one year!
The question of the Business of Parliament, can never be properly dealt with, till Governments have the courage and the intelligent honesty to resist the modern system of over-legislation. This system opens the door for frauds, and abuses, and public mischiefs, of the grossest kind. The retrograde Act of last year, altering the Nuisances' Removal Act of 1855, is one example of this. The Parochial Assessments Bill and Highways Bill of the present Session, are other examples of it. These are only instances.
What Bills are brought in, need far greater attention and care than they now get from those who prepare them. This was particularly remarked by the Committee of 1848. It would seem, from the way in which Mr. Horsman's reference to that Committee was received on Thursday (7th inst.), that no Member but himself was aware of the nature of the Report of the Committee. At any rate, this was directly mis-stated. The Committee included Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, Sir George Grey, Sir James Graham, Mr. Hume, Mr. Bernal, Mr. Cobden, Mr. Henley, and others. In its recommendations it was unanimous. Those recommendations end with two paragraphs, of which the following is the principal part:-"Your Committee, however, venture to express an opinion, that the satisfactory conduct and progress of the business of The House, must mainly depend upon Her Majesty's Government, holding, as they do, the chief control over its management. They [the Committee] believe, that, by the 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, the Government can contribute, in an essential degree, to the easy and convenient conduct of business."
On this branch, attention must be asked to the illustrations brought together in Parl. Rem. Vol. III. 5, 6, 83, 191, 192, 215.
Touching the third branch of the business of Parliament, the enormous tax upon the time of Members, and therefore hindrance to the fulfilment of their public duties as Members of Parliament, which Private Bills interpose, is unquestionable. But it is an evil that is capable of the easiest remedy; a remedy which, while it would relieve Parliament from a very heavy burden, would ensure all these measures being considered and carried out, in a manner much more efficient and much more satisfactory than now to the parties concerned. Private Bills only come before Parliament, because Parliament is the protector and guardian of the Law, as the inheritance of every man. But Private Bills are filled with details which are of Local interest only. It ought to be insisted on, that every proposed Private Bill shall have been discussed, considered, settled, and assented to, by the responsible Local Representatives of the place (whether Parish, Town, or County) which will be affected by it; and that only such parts of the Bill as touch any general principle of legal right, shall be submitted to Parliament. To fill up the working details of what is thus suggested, would not be difficult, and its practical execution would be simple and complete. But the time is not yet come to enter on the topic further here.
See, on this branch, Parl. Rem. Vol. I. p. 14; ib. Vol. III. p. 3; and, particularly, Evidence given before the Select Committee on Public Health, etc., Bills, in 1855, in answers to Questions 730-744.
Tuesday: 12th February.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Private Bills. The following were brought in, and read first time:-Blane Valley Railway; Charing Cross Railway City Terminus; Finsbury Circus Railway Station; Hastings Western Water-Works; Isle of Wight Water; Rumney Railway; Uxbridge Gas; West Cornwall Railway; West London Extension Railway; Wigan Gas Meter and Fitting Company; Wolverhampton New Water-Works.
Trade Marks Bill,-" To amend the Law relating to the fraudulent marking of merchandise." Brought in by the LORD CHANCELLOR. Read first time.
Fictitious Savings-Banks Bill.-Read second time. Committee on Tuesday next.
This Bill contains but a single section; which declares that persons who are parties to the existence of any Bank or Society which assumes to be a "Savings-Bank," but is not authorized by any Act, shall be held guilty of a Misdemeanor.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Private Bills.-The following were, on Petition from those concerned, ordered to be brought in :