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had long been carrying on a favourable trade there. He then gave a history of the negotiations between Great Britain and the United States respecting this country, and traced them from their commencement to the period when the existing convention was formed in 1827 between Mr. Rush on the one side, and Mr. Huskisson on the other. A new circumstance had now arisen. The President of the United States had made a peremptory claim to all this territory, and had called upon the citizens of the United States to go forth with their wives and children to take possession of it. Now, Columbia was becoming of more importance each succeeding year. The Government ought, therefore, to insist on a speedy solution of this question; for there was danger lest the citizens of the United States should disturb British subjects in the enjoyment of their property on the Oregon, and should thus produce a collision between the two Governments. He was not prepared to say that Great Britain should abate any of her just pretensions, nor where we should draw the line between the Americans and ourselves. He thought, however, that we could not accede to a proposal less advantageous than that made by Mr. Canning in 1827, with any regard to our own interests. He had heard it said, that the value of this territory was a matter of indifference to us; but it was not a matter of indifference to us whether our just rights were to be compromised by what he must be permitted to call a blustering announcement. It was not a matter of indifference to us, that the means of communication between Columbia on the one hand, and our possessions in
India and China on the other, should be surrendered to a foreign power. It was not a matter of indifference to us, that the tone and character of England should be lowered in any transaction which we carried on with the United States. He should have abstained from entering into this question, if it had been left as a diplomatic transaction between the Earl of Aberdeen and Mr. Buchanan, as the agents of the British and American Governments; but as it had been taken out of their hands, he could do what the Minister of the Crown was precluded by his position from doing, he could state to the people of England what were their rights. Having made that statement, he should leave the whole matter in the hands of Government, and he had no doubt that they would consult the interests of the country and the honour of the Crown.
Sir Robert Peel could not be surprised, and could not feel regret, that the noble lord had taken the course which he had pursued. He was of opinion, that, whilst these matters were pending in negotiations between the two Governments, it was politic to abstain from exercising the right of discussion on subjects calculated to excite popular feeling, unless there were cogent reasons to the contrary. If the noble lord had thought it right to depart from that course on this occasion, he ought not to be held responsible for the consequences; for it appeared that this question had been withdrawn from the cognizance of those to whom it had been entrusted; and that a popular appeal had been made to the passions of the people in the United States by those who ought to have dis
countenanced such an appeal. The noble lord had said that a Minister of the Crown spoke on such a question as the present under a responsibility to which he (Lord John Russell) was not liable. That was undoubtedly true, and he should therefore abstain from following the noble lord through his statement, as he could not do so without implying opinions from the expression of which he ought to abstain. He felt, however, that it was open to him to inform the House of the general state of our negotiations with the United States on this question. In the year 1818, the northern boundary of the possessions of the United States and of Great Britain, westward of the Rocky Mountains, was defined. No agreement was made as to the country beyond the Rocky Mountains; but a convention signed between the two Governments in 1818, which was to continue for ten years, gave a right of joint occupation to the subjects of each country. In 1824, and again in 1826, Mr. Canning made several attempts to effect an amicable adjustment of our respective claims with the American Government. Those attempts entirely failed. At the end of ten years the convention expired. A new convention was framed in 1827, which continued in force for ten years the convention of 1818, with this proviso, that the convention of 1827 should not necessarily determine by the lapse of time, but should extend beyond the term of ten years, and should terminate after a year's notice from either party, when the rights of both should revive. That was the convention which now affected the territory of the Oregon. Mr. Pakenham, our Minister, had been VOL. LXXXVII.
directed in 1842 to form an ami. cable arrangement of the claims of the two countries on equitable terms. Sir R. Peel read a message of President Tyler, dated 3rd of December, 1843, for the purpose of showing that he had expressed an equal desire to come to an amicable arrangement. Nay, more, on the 19th of February, 1845, about a fortnight before this inaugural address was delivered by President Polk, President Tyler, in reply to an address from the Senate of the United States, asking for information relative to the negotiations pending on this question with England, observed, “I have only to say that, as the negotiations are still pending, this information not be given. Considerable progress has been made in the nego. tiations which have been carried on in an amicable spirit between the two countries, and I hope that they will be speedily brought to an amicable termination." He (Sir Robert Peel) could confirm the language of President Tyler respecting the amicable spirit in which the negotiations had been carried on; but he could not confirm his statement as to the progress of the negotiations, and to his hopes of an amicable termination. On the 5th of March, 1845, Mr. Polk made his inaugural address as President. Since that time we had received no communication from our Minister, who had only been able to communicate the message, but had not had time to make any comment on it. The Government of President Polk had been very recently appointed, and no diplomatic communication, as far as he was informed, had taken place with it. He thought it highly probable that Mr. Pakenham would have
continued with the present Government the negotiations which he had commenced with the last; but he had no information on the subject. He trusted that the negotiations would be renewed. At no very distant period they would know the result of them. He did not despair of their favourable termination, but if the proposals of the British Government should be rejected, and no proposals were made by the Government of the United States, to which we could accede, he should not object, on the part of the Government, to lay on the table all the communications between the two Governments. He still hoped that an amicable and equitable adjustIment of the claims of the two countries might be made. He must, however, express his deep regret that, while the negotiations were still pending, the President of the United States should, contrary to all usage, have referred to other contingencies than a friendly termination of them. Such an allusion was not likely to lead to such a result as the friends to the real interests of both countries desired. He regretted not only the allusion, but also the tone
and temper in which it was made. As the subject had been brought under discussion, he felt it to be his duty, on the part of the Government, to state, in language the most temperate, but at the same time the most decisive, that they considered "that we have a right to this territory of Oregon which is clear and unquestionable; that we desire an amicable adjustment of the differences between ourselves and the United States; but that, having exhausted every effort to obtain it, if our rights are invaded, we are resolved and prepared to maintain them."
A tremendous burst of cheers from all parts of the House followed this annunciation.
In consequence of an intimation which Sir Robert Peel gave at the termination of his speech, that it might be expedient for the House not to express any further opinion at present on this subject, the subject dropped after a declaration from Lord John Russell, that he could not submit any motion on this subject to the House until all the papers connected with it were laid on the table by Her Majesty's Government.
Miscellaneous Measures-Bill for the Relief of the Jews from Municipal Disabilities-Speech of the Lord Chancellor on its Introduction -Remarks of the Bishop of London, the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lords Brougham, Campbell, and Colchester-Speech of Sir R. Peel in moving the Second Reading in the House of Commons-The Bill is supported by Lord John Russell, and other Members, and opposed by Sir R. H. Inglis, and Mr. Plumptre-It is read a second time by a majority of 91 to 11.-The Bill is passed-Earl Powis renews his attempt in the House of Lords to repeal the Act for merging the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor-The Duke of Wellington opposes the Proposition-After a Debate Lord Powis's Motion is negatived by 129 to 97-Bill for the amendment of the Poor Laws in ScotlandIts Principal Provisions-It is strongly opposed, but eventually becomes Law-Lord Ashley's Bills for the Regulation of Juvenile Labour in Calico Print Works, and for the better care of Lunatics in Asylums-They are adopted with some Modifications by the Government, and are carried-Sir R. Peel proposes Measures for the Regulation of Banking in Scotland and Ireland-Nature and Details of his Schemes-They are adopted with little DiscussionThe Commons' Enclosure Bill-Its objects-Review of the Session -Lord John Russell, on a Motion for Papers, enters into an Examination of the Legislative Results of the Session and the Policy of the Ministry-He is answered at length by Sir James GrahamRemarks of Mr. M. J. O'Connell, Mr. Plumptre, Mr. Sheil, and other Members-Close of the Session on the 9th of August-Address delivered by the Speaker, and the Queen's Speech-Parliament is prorogued till the 24th of October-Concluding Remarks on the Session -Novel Combinations of Parties, and growing Preponderance of Commercial Policy-Conclusion.
A FURTHER step was taken in promotion of that policy wherein so much advance has been made of late years,―the removal of civil disabilities from persons professing forms of religion different from that establishblished by the State,-by a Bill
introduced by Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst early in the present Session. The object of this measure was the relief of persons of the Jewish persuasion from certain tests which had previously been required from them upon their election to municipal offices.
moving the second reading on the 10th of March, the Lord Chancellor in a lucid speech explained the inconsistencies and absurdities of the present system, by reference to the cases of Sir M. Montefiore, Messrs. Salomons, Lousada, Cohen, and Rothschild. Each of these gentlemen were then magistrates, some for several counties, some also were deputy Lieutenants, and all might be elected to the office of High Sheriff. In the city of London they were not only eligible to this latter office, but if they refused to serve, they were liable to a very heavy penalty; yet if they aspired to a dignity which was the ordinary reward of an honourable performance of the sheriff's duty-that of alderman, they were excluded by a clause in the form of declaration required, which, while it added nothing to the obligation of the oath, could only be subscribed by a Christian. Nothing could be more unjust than than thus to impose a responsible and onerous office, and to debar those who discharged it of their just reward, and nothing could be more impolitic or unwise than this exclusion. If the oaths were first tendered and taken, the act of indemnity would protect the alderman who refused to subscribe the declaration, and in some towns this course had been adopted; but in London the Court of Aldermen had required that the declaration should be first subscribed, and had thus exercised a power of exclusion to which they were in no degree entitled. The object of the present measure was to remove these difficulties and hardships, and to assimilate the course to be pursued with respect to the Jews to that already taken in favour of all the Christian sects,
and even in some cases of the Jews themselves. He was most anxious that the Bill should pass ; and he drew from the experience of foreign countries, and especially of Prussia, the conclusion that the removal of Jewish disabilities would produce the most happy results.
The Bishop of London said, that he would not oppose the Bill, but he protested against being precluded by forbearance on this occasion from hereafter resisting any attempt to obtain the admission of the Jews to Parliament.
The Marquis of Lansdowne reminded their lordships of the failure of two former measures for the same object as an evidence of the advantage gained by agitating such questions. He trusted that the Bill would be passed unanimously.
Lord Brougham expressed his extreme satisfaction at the introduction of the measure, which he advocated upon principles of jus
tice and toleration.
Lord Campbell hoped that the Bill was to be regarded only as an instalment of that full and complete justice which the Jews deserved to receive.
Lord Colchester intimated his disapproval of any larger measure of relief.
The Bill was read a second time without a division. Having passed through the Upper House, it came down to the Commons, where the second reading was moved by Sir R. Peel on the 17th of July. In introducing the measure on that occasion he explained, that the impediment to the admission of Jews to municipal office existed in consequence of the Act of 1828, repealing the Test and Corporation Acts, and substituting a