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complained of a speech delivered at the Political Union of Sunderland by Mr. Larkm, the friend of Dr. Headlam, describing "Earl Grey as a weak instrument in the hands of the people—a Minister who, without the Unions, would have been nothing." He wished to know if it was the intention of his Majesty's Government to allow those Societies to assemble and issue their edicts. —Earl Grey condemned Political Unions, but thought the law could not be applied with effect, and that it would be better to leave them to the good sense of the people. lie disapproved the language of Mr. Larkin, but also the injustice of holding Dr. Headlam responsible for words used in his presence.
June 19. On the motion for a second leading of the Anatomy Regulation Kill, Lord Wynford strongly resisted the Bill, declaring that there was in the minds of the poor the most decided repugnance to dissection; nor was that fear always limited to the poorer classes of society. His Lordship illustrated this opinion by mentioning a conversation he had with Col. Despard j ust before that individual was about to suffer death for treason. The Colonel's bravery was indisputable ; he had no dread of death, but he contemplated dissection, which was a part of the sentence, with the greatest horror. His Lordship concluded with moving that the Bill be read a second time this day six months—The Earl of Harewood opposed the Bill.—The Lord Chancellor and the Earl of Fife supported it. Their Lordships then divided on the motion. There were for the Bill 15, and against it 10; the Bill was read a second time.
June 20. Earl Grey moved an Address to the King, in consequence of the flagitious and treasonable attack on his Majesty at Ascot Heath, and in doing so his Lordship adverted to the precedents in favour of such a course of proceeding. The Address was agreed to, and a message sent to the Commons desiring a present conference in the Painted Chamber. The conference took place, and the Address was communicated to the Commons, whose concurrence was received.
June 21. The Marquis of VVellesley, in his character as Lord Steward, announced the gracious intention of his Majesty to receive the Address of the two Houses on Wednesday next, and intimation was sent to the Commons to that effect.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
May 22. Mr. Robinson presented a petition from Worcester, praying for an inquiry into the state of the trade of the country; after which the Hon. Member moved that a Select Committee, be appointed to inquire into the present state of trade, commerce, and navigation, and to repoit on the opera
tions of the changes in our navigation laws and commercial policy since 1820. The Hon. Member contended, at great length, that the experiment of what was called free trade bad been thoroughly tried, and failed. —Mr. Hume opposed the motion, and contended that the principles of free trade were such as cemented the bonds of amity between nations; and that any country which expected to sell its produce, without taking the produce of others in exchange, pursued a policy highly injurious to her best interests Mr. Alderman Waithman, in a long
speech, contended that all our commercial distress was owing to the want of a sufficient protecting legislature.—Mr. P.Thompson answered the Alderman at considerable length, and said, he was prepared to show, when the worthy Alderman made his annual motion, that all his arguments were erroneous, and his deductions false. The motion was negatived.—The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved for a Secret Committee, to inquire into the propriety of renewing the Bank Charter, and also to inquire into the general system of banking in England and Wales. The Noble Lord expressly excluded from the consideration of the Secret Committee the question of standard value, but left the small note question open to the consideration of the Committee, if it should think proper to enter upon it.—Sir R. Vyvyan protested against the appointment of a Committee at such a moment.—Mr. Baring wished the small note question to be excluded from the consideration of the Committee.—Mr. Pearse hoped the Government would take care, as the Committee was to be so large as thirty, to have a sufficient number of practical men upon it, to counteract the efforts of the people called philosophers. The motion was agreed to.
May 24. Mr. F. Buxton moved for the appointment of a Select Committee, to report as to state of slavery in the British dominions, the means of extinguishing slavery, and the easiest means of accomplishing the same at the earliest period possible, with safety to all the parties interested.—Mr. O'Connell seconded the motion—Mr. C. Pelham maintained that there were more Christians amongst the blacks than there were in that metropolis.—Mr. Strickland expressed his approbation of the motion.—Mr. K. Douglas opposed the motion, contending that there were no adequate grounds for it, the House having already come to very decided resolutions on the subject, especially in 1832.—Mr. Macaulay said, that the motion had his most cordial support, and he trusted that it would have the sanction of the House. He was quite sure, for safety's sake, that some remedy must be adopted, and speedily.—Sir R. Peel thought that a public declaration against slavery would be extremely disadvantageous, and wished Ministers to take tlie affair into their own hands.—Lord Althorp thought there was a question of justice between this country and the colonies, which should be carefully attended to, but which should not prevent the endeavour to obtain an extinction of slavery. He could not see any danger in the appointment of such a Committee as the one proposed, though it was his opinion that the slave population were not at present in a state for immediate emancipation. It was the duty of that House to take such measures as should in the speediest manner prepare them for the enjoyment of liberty.— Sir George Murray thought it was impossible that there could be any difference of opinion on the subject, that slavery was an evil which ought to be remedied. He conceived, however, that, of all the difficult tasks ever undertaken by any G overnment, that of the abolition of slavery in the West Indies was the greatest, with a view to the interests of the colonists, and, above all, of the slaves themselves. — Mr. Buxton was strongly opposed to giving any compensation to the slave owner.—Lord Howick was glad to hear from the Right Hon. and gallant Officer, that he looked to the extinction of slavery as the proper consequence of all proceedings on that important subject; and added, that there were means of ameliorating the condition of the slaves, and leading to the extinction of slavery in a manner as cautious as the most timid could desire.—Lord Sandon yielded to no man in his abhorrence of slavery, but would not lose sight of common prudence in dealing with the interests of the colonists.—Lord Althorp moved that the words should be introduced to secure attention to the interests of the colonists. The amendment was supported by Sir C.Wetherell, Messrs. Hume, G. Knight, Baring, Lord G. Bentinck, &c. and opposed by Messrs. Evans and O'Connell, and Dr. Lushington. On a division, there appeared —For the amendment, 163; for the original motion, 90; majority for Ministers, 73. The appointment of the Committee was then postponed.
May 25. Mr. Stanley moved the second reading of the Irish Reform Bill.—Mr. Lefroy moved as an amendment, that it be read that day six months. A long debate ensued; after which the House divided, when the numbers were—For the second teading, 216; against it, 130; majority for Ministers, 116.
May 30. Lord Milton, in reply to inquiries, said he was anxious to bring forward his motion regarding the Corn Laws as early as possible.—Mr. Hume said it would be much better to dispose of the Reform Bills before any of these subjects were brought forward, a sentiment that was sanctioned with loud cheering.—In the Committee on the Bill for the repeal of the punish
ment of death in certain cases, a good deal of desultory conversation took place, almost all who spoke sanctioning the principles of the Bill, and expressing hopes that the ameliorated system of America would experience more extended imitation.
May 31. Several petitions were presented against all dramatic monopoly, and Mr. E. L. Bulwer, pursuant to notice, moved for a select committee to inquire into the state of the laws affecting dramatic literature, and the performance of the drama. The extent and power of the patents grafted to the two great theatres had long been matter of dispute, but by a late judicial decision all performances, except those of the most mountebank and trumpery description, were declared to be infringements of the law, subject to serious penalties. The original reason for suppressing the minor theatres had long ceased to exist, and the only ground on which the exclusive patents were granted had not been fulfilled. In the licentious period in which the first patents were granted, the reign of Charles II. the minor theatres were the scene of very disorderly and improper exhibitions, and it was therefore desirable to suppress them; that was no longer the case. The patents were granted to two theatres, " for the preservation of the dignity of the national drama." They had not produced that object. No sooner were the patents obtained than the national drama began to deteriorate, and a love of scenic effect to supersede it. This reproach to the patentees hail constantly existed, and existed with peculiar justice at the present time. We were tempted to ask with the Lord Chancellor, not how many plays had been produced of our literature, but rather how many plays had been produced fit for grownup men and women to go and see? They might be assured there would be no more theatres than could find audiences to fill them; and he thought there ought to be as many theatres as the public were willing to support. He wished all restrictions on the legitimate drama to be removed. He required no novel experiment, he only asked them to leave it such as it was in the days of Massinger, and Beaumont and Fletcher, and Jonson, and Shakspeare, when seventeen theatres were constantly open to a metropolis a tenth part of the si7e of London at present, and a population by a hundred degrees less wealthy and intellectual. The Hon. Member then adverted to the laws regarding literary property and dramatic copyright in particular, and remarked upon the injustice done to literary men, who were the only portion of the community to whom was denied that necessary blessing pledged by every free state to its subjects, the protection
of property Mr. O'Connell seconded the
motion.—Sir C. Wetherell opposed it. He contended that the abrogation of the patents would tend to multiply theatres, not to improve them. At Pans there were thirteen or fourteen theatres, but he had never heard that it made any modern Corneilles or Racine*. They had already reforms enough on their hands, and the proposed inquiry was useless, and might be mischievous.— ilr. Lamb considered that the time had arrived when some inquiry ought to be instituted into the anomalous state of privilege and law respecting the theatres and dramatic copyrights, and he hoped that the inquiry would lead to amendments of the law
on the subject Mr. W. Brougham, Mr. J.
Campbell, Mr. Hume, and Mr. Robinson, supported the motion.—Mr. Sheil said experience showed that a dramatic censorship was neither accessary nor desirable. In Ireland a licence for a new play had never been required. When a national stage did indeed exist, when (i.uiick, and Mossop, and Harry performed before the assembled nobles and gentry of that country, no licenser was found necessary. Why? Because the spirit of true decorum and refinement forbade the performance of irreligious or immoral compositions.—Sir £. Sugden opposed the motion, which was, however, agreed to, and a committee appointed.
June 1. The House went into Committee on the Scotch Reform Bill.—Sir (j. Murray ujuiplained of injustice to Scotland, and said it ought to have 85 members—Mr. Sheil asked why none of the four Scotch Universities had a member?—The Committee then divided, and the members were, for the motion, 168; against it, 61; majority, 107.
June 4. In reply to various questions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the new Municipal Police Measure was not ready; that the Order in Council would still be acted upon in the Crown Colonies; and that the payment of the Russo-Dutch loan was suspended. — The Scotch Reform Bill was then committed, and various clauses passed.—The English Reform Bill was returned from the Lords, and the amendments ordered to be considered to-morrow.
June 5. The Lords' amendments to the Keform Bill were agreed to, after a long, important, and animated discussion, in which the Political Unions were deprecated on both sides of the House. Mr. Hume having stated that he would not give a pin for the Bill if it were to stop here, without leading to farther changes, Lord John Russell declared, that he considered the Bill final, and would consent to nothing beyond it. He also repeated that charters would be given to the new boroughs ; but he could not pledge himself that it would be done before they were called upon to exercise their elective franchise.—Sir E. B. Sugden said,
that whether the Government were composed of Whigs or Tories, or of both, an end should be put to the Local Parliaments —the Political Unions.—Lord J. Russell replied, that where a Union was only a sort of Club, whatever speeches might be made, provided they were not seditious, he knew not that the law recognized in the Crown the power of issuing a proclamation like that of last winter. The other chief speakers were Lord Althorp, Sir H. Peel, Lord Milton, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Croker, Colonel Torrens, Mr. Praed, and Mr. C. Grant.
June 6. The House went into Committee on the Reform (Scotland) Bill. Tin- 23d and 24th clauses passed after some observation.—Clause 25 was postponed.—The clauses in succession up to 36 were agreed to.—Mr. A. Johnstone moved as an amendment that the clergy of the Church of Scotland be excluded from the right of voting for Members of Parliament under the new Reform Bill. On this a division took place, when the amendment was negatived by 72 to 7.
June 7. The House took into consideration the report of the Boundaries Hill.—The clauses for divisions of the counties of Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derby, Devon, Durham, and Essex, were agreed to stand part of the Bill.—The clause for the division of the county of Gloucester was put.— Lord G. Somerset submitted that Thornbury was a more convenient place for the western division than W oolton-underEdge.—Lord J. Russell assented, and the amendment was agreed to.—'The clauses for the division of the counties of Hampshire and Kent were agreed to.—The clause for the division of the county of Lancashire having been put, Lord J. Russell moved that in the southern division of the county, Newton should be substituted in the clause as the place of election, instead of Wigan, which was carried by 54 to 5.—The clauses for dividing the counties of Leicester, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, Nottingham, Salop, Somerset, Stafford, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwick, Wilts, and Worcester, were also agreed to.
June 13. Mr. Stanley moved the order of the day for going into the Irish Reform Bill.—Mr. O'Connell said he had to propose an instruction to the committee that the Irish forty-shilling freeholder in fee should have a right of voting for members of parliament. The English people had nobly done their duty; the Irish people assisted them in their need; so had the people of Scotland; and it was fitting that impartial justice should be done to all. The franchise of Ireland was taken away in 1829, and he now called for its restoration. In its details this Bill was founded upon a narrow basis, and would make an oligarchy in Ireland, and confer the power of representation upon absentees. He would not attribute motives to any man, but the result of the Irish Reform Bill would lead to the disfranchisement of the majority of the people of Ireland. After some further observations, he moved that it be an instruction to the Committee " to enable persons in the counties of Ireland seised in tee, and occupying lands or tenements of the clear yearly value of forty shillings, and not subject to any rent, save quit rent or crown rent, to vote at the election of Members of Parliament."—A short discussion followed, in which the exclusion of the forty-shilling freeholders was condemned by several Irish members as an act of injustice; but on a division, the amendment was lost by 122 to 73.
June 14. Mr. E. L. Bulwerrose to make his promised motion for the repeal of the Newspaper Stamps, or, as they have been significantly called, the taxes on knowledge. The Hon. Member entered into various details to prove the connexion between ignorance and crime, and maintained that it was the duty of Parliament to promote knowledge, by removing every tax that could operate as an impediment to its circulation. Another fact to which the Hon. Member appealed was the great number of cheap and mischievous publications to which it was important that cheap answers should be opposed. The present Government had long legislated for property and intelligence; let them at last feel the necessity of legislating for poverty and ignorance. Crime had fast increased—enough of human blood had been shed; was it not time to make the experiment, whether cheap knowledge might not be made a better political agent than dear punishment 1 The Hon. Member concluded by moving the following resolutions: —" That it is expedient to repeal all taxes which impede the diffusion of knowledge." —" That it is peculiarly expedient at the ■resent time to repeal the stamp duty on Newspapers."—" That it is also peculiarly expedient to repeal or reduce the duty on advertisements.' —" That it is expedient, in order to meet the present state of the revenue, to appoint a select Committee to consider the propriety of establishing a cheap postage on Newspapers and other publications."—Mr. O'Connell seconded the motion—The Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his concurrence in the view taken of the beneficial effects likely to result from the more extended diffusion of knowledge, but opposed the motion at present, on the ground that the revenue would suffer from the abolition of the tax, and that the advanced state of the Session precluded the possibility of coming to any satisfactory result upon the subject. His Lordship con
cluded by moving the previous question.— Sir C. Wetherell denounced it as an unjust interference with copyright, and the enormous capitals which were now embarked in such establishments.—Sir M. Ridley supported the amendment, because it would be absurd at this time of the Session to hold out any hope that relief could be afforded. —Mr. Warburton, Mr. Sturt, Mr. Hunt, and Mr. Robinson supported the motion. After a few observations from Colonel Evans and Lord Althorp, Mr. Bulwer replied, and concluded with declaring, that in consequence of the almost universal sense of the House, he felt, reluctantly, that he could not press the House to a division, but, if he should have the honour to be a Member in the next Parliament, he would, at the earliest opportunity, bring forward a similar motion.—The question was then put pro forma, and negatived.
June 15. In the Committee on the Customs Duties' Bill, Mr. Poulett Thompson explained that it was the intention of Government to reduce the duties on hemp, to the extent of £60,000 annually, with a view to ensure a cheaper supply in future of this essential article, for the rigging of shipping. The schedule annexed to the Bill was drawn up with a view to effect this object; and also a decrease of the present duties on medicines imported, and upon dyeing woods.—Mr. Alderman Thomson, Mr. (ioulburn, Mr. Burge, and several other Hon. Members, contended that the duties were not fairly equalized. The schedule was agreed to.
June 18. Un the motion that the House resolve into a Committee on the Reform Bill for Ireland, Mr. O'Connell moved an instruction to the Committee. In doing so he observed that it was the only instruction he should move, and that he had no expectation of canying it. He particularly complained of the present Bill omitting the registration which was adopted in the English Reform Bill, which was introduced into the first Irish Reform Bill, and which would have been an invaluable boon to Ireland. His motion was, " That it be an instruction to the Committee to make provisions for extending the elective franchise to persons seised of any freehold estate, and occupying the same, of the clear value of 5/. at least, over and above all charges, except only public or Parliamentary taxes, county, barony, church, or parish cesses, or rates and cesses on any townland or division of a barony." The motion led to a good deal of desultory, and much personal remark, arising out of charges of inconsistency preferred against Mr. O'Connell.—Mr. O'Connell was attacked by the Solicitor-General for Ireland, on account of having held different opinions respecting the franchise; but the learned Member for Kerry declared that *' the reporters" had misrepresented him; that they had not understood what " freehold" meant, and that, though the matter was in print, he had not uttered it. After much debate the House divided, and negatived the motion by a large majority, the numbers being—ayes 44, noes 177.
June 19. Mr. Sadler brought forward his long-promised motion respecting a permanent provision for the necessitous poor of Ireland; he moved a resolution declaratory of the expediency of making such a provision by a permanent charge, and particularly by a tax on absentees.—Mr. Stanley resisted the motion on the ground of its vagueness. They knew not whether the whole, or only parts, of the Knglish Poor Laws were required to be extended to Ireland; and as to absenteeism (which was mentioned, but not in the speech), how was that to be definedt The question was brought forward at so inconvenient a period, just " on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament," that he should meet it by moving " the previous question."—Mr. Chapman and Mr. Orattan supported the motion, but said that their hopes tor redress extended to the labours of a Reformed House—Mr. O'Connell and several other Members followed.— Mr. Slaney reminded the House that the Government had appointed a Commission to investigate the state of the Poor Laws; and it might be assumed that the inquiry would not neglect the state of the Poor in Ireland. Most of the Members who spoke agreed with Mr. Slaney that the tendency of the motion was to pledge the next Parliament to take up this question,! and that the House had no right to pursue such a course. The motion was pressed to a division, when there appeared a majority of nineteen in favour of Ministers. Mr. Hunt's proposition for a temporary suspension of the practice of flogging in the army was afterwards brought forward. — Sir J. C. Hobhouse made some interesting communications on this subject. He stated that a regulation had been adopted which reduced the minimum of lashes, that a regimental court-martial could inflict from 300 to 200 lashes; and that a garrison court-martial could inflict from 500 to 300 lashes.
June 20. In consequence of a message from the Lords, a conference took place in the Painted Chamber, after which the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved an Address to his Majesty, similar to that which had been adopted in the Upper House. In seconding tne proposition, Sir Robert Peel adverted, in a low tone of voice, to the attack on the Duke of Wellington, as well as to that on the King, urged the necessity of combined efforts to calm the public mind, and intimated that surprise could hardly be
felt, if Honourable Members would talk about "physical force," that ignorant men
should make bad use of such opinions
Mr. Stanley regretted that the Right Hon. Baronet should have deemed it necessary to touch on a jarring string—to introduce any thing of a political or party character; but he. nevertheless, hoped that the Address would have a unanimous vote.—Mr. Hume complained of the unwise and ill-timed references to expressions which were separated from speeches delivered by him on former occasions; and added, that although he had explained them at the time, he was ready to vindicate any language that he had ever used—Sir F. Burdett deplored that any political allusion had been introduced, and contended that the attack was one of an isolated character, and with which the country could not be identified. He added, that he could not but condemn the base and unmanly attacks that had been made on an illustrious lady in this country; they had almost led him to fear the existence of an incipient spirit, which, if it did exist, would occasion him the most sincere grief.—Mr. Croker complained of other attacks on the King—attacks that had rendered it requisite for his Majesty to change his route when
coming from Windsor to London After
some further remarks from Sir C. Wetherell, and other Members, the motion was agreed to, and the concurrence communicated to the Lords.
The House resolved itself into a Committee on the Coroners' Bill.—Mr. Hume said he thought it was of importance that Coroners should understand the value of medical evidence, and he should, therefore, propose, that at the end of Clause 8, there should be insetted words, by which it should be required, that before any man was admitted to be a Coroner, he should produce certificates of having attended two courses of lectures on medical jurisprudence.—After a short debate, the amendment was negatived by a majority of 69.—Mr. Warburton then proposed an amendment, in order to provide that all Coroners' Inquests should be held in open Court, to which the public might obtain admission.—Mr. Cripps objected to the Motion, on the ground that inquests were most frequently held in private houses, from which the public could of right be excluded by the proprietors.—Mr. O'Connell said, that if there were any obstacle opposed to the publicity of an inquest, on the ground that it was to be held in a private house, the Coroner could adjourn to any other place. But now that he had seen something of private inquests, he could understand why so many persons were desirous of becoming Coroners. Having the power to exclude witnesses and reporters, they might expect to turn the office to account. To put such