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now going forward, or likely to take place House being in a Committee on the Bill, between us and that Government, from Lord Ellenborough proposed the insertion wbich it might be hoped that hostilities of an amendment of some length, the may be avoided ?
principal object of which appeared to be The Earl of Liverpool, in answer to what to prevent any thing in the Act from fell from the noble earl, stated, that their operating to the prejudice of the sheriff, lordships might be aware an armistice had who otherwise, though an innocent person, been concluded between marshal Murat may be affected injuriously. and the commander-in-chief of bis Ma. The amendment was adopted. jesty's forces in that quarter. With re- The Marquis of Buckingham understood ference to this, a notice had been given by that the exception of the Fleet, King'sthe latter to marshal Murat, that if he bench, and Marshalsea, and Palace-court should commit any hostile acts against bis prisons, from the operation of the Bill, Majesty's ally, he should consider it as a arose from there being yet no other albreach of the armistice between the two lowance for keeping up the establishment countries. Whether any hostile steps had of these prisons iban what arose from Gaol occurred between the British and the Nea. Fees. There was a report from a compolisan forces he could not say; but from mittee of the House of Commons on the what bad taken place on the part of the subject, and be should move to-morrow latter, the armistice was considered to be for a copy of that Report. at an end. With respect to the second The Lord Chancellor stated, that he had point, whether there were any discussions received a great many clauses to be in. going on between the two countries for serted with respect to the London gaols, the establisbment of peace, he could not which appeared very proper in themselves, say there were any negociations going on but if they were introduced into that House, at present that could render the notice of would endanger the loss of the Bill althe noble lord nugatory.
together, and prevent, for the time, the Earl Grey replied, ihat he understood good which it was calculated to do. His from the noble lord that hostilities were lordship stated what had been proved at now actually revived between the two the bar on a former occasion, that the countries. But their lordships would re- city of London expended no less a sum collect, that we had been, in effect, at than 15,0001, in providing comforts for peace with the Government of Naples for their prisoners; and if the fees of their the last twelve months; and that, from gauls were pot an end to, they must inthe statement of the noble lord, the ne- crease their gaolers salaries, and could not cessity followed of a regular declaration afford so great a sum for their prisoners. that a state of hostility was renewed. He The fees in all gaols being abolished, prithought, therefore, that a communication soners having a power of removing them. should be made to Parliament on the sub- selves would crowd to the London gaols ject; and on which occasion, a discussion for the sake of the allowance, and this on the merits of the case would preferably would be more particularly the case when ensue. He again asked if any such com- the new gaol should be built. It would munication was intended ?
be desirable not to check the hand of The Earl of Liverpool said, he had not charity, and yet it would be improper to received any command to make such a risk ibe loss of the Bill: the best course communication.
appeared to be to make the clauses in Lord Grey then asked, was it probable question the subject of a separate Bill, that such a communication would be which might be passed this session, and made ? and (after a word or two from the for these reasons he refrained from pronoble earl across the table, in an under posing them at present. voice) proceeded to observe, that it ap. The Marquis of Lansdowne concurred with peared very extraordinary to him, that the noble and learned lord as to the best no communication should be made to Par- course of proceeding, but did not tbink liament, in a case, where though no formal that the abolition of the fees would tend peace had been made, a state of hostility much to crowd the London gaols. A rewas avowedly entered into. He gave no- moval could not be accomplished at a less tice, that he would bring on bis motion expense than 6l., and to those who could to.morrow,
afford this, the fees could not be a great
object. Gaol Fees ABOLITION Bill.] The The Bill passed through the Committee.
LONDON PETITION AGAINST A WAR WITH HOUSE OF COMMONS.
FRANCE-THE PROPERTY-Tax, &c.) Sir Monday, May 1.
William Curtis said, he had a petition to Insolvent Debtors Bill.] Mr. Ser- present from the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, jeant Best moved the order of the day for and Livery of London, in Common-hall the second reading of the Insolvent Debtors assembled, which might appear, in some Bill. The learned serjeant noticed some respects, of an extraordinary nature. He alterations in the clauses of the Bill that was bound in duty to his constituents to he wished to propose in the Committee. present it, and it was couched in terms
Mr. Horner said, that the Bill now be that might probably ensure its reception fore the House was any thing but the bill by the House. It was also bis duty to say, wbich the hon. and learned serjeant had that there was scarcely a sentirnent condescribed, when he obtained leave of the tained in it in which he concurred. The House to bring it in. He understood from meeting was, however, called in the conthe hon. and learned gentleman since, stitutional and proper way. The petition however, that two of the most material was a kind of omnium, embracing a great clauses bad been omitted. As it was ma- variety of matter; one part of it related terial that the measure should come before to the Property-tax. He moved for leave the House in a perfect form, antecedent to to present the petition. their being called upon to deliver their The Speaker observed, that the hon. opinion upon it, he thought in the present | baronet having stated that the Petition instance an unfair advantage would be was in part against a tax now pending, gained by obtaining the consent to the it could not, consistently with the forms second reading of a Bill, the essence of of the House, be received. which was subsequently to be changed. Sir W.,Curtis said, that he did not know With these feelings, as well as from an in- whether it could be said that the Petition superable objection to the preamble, he was exactly directed against the Proshould object to the motion. The measure perty-tax. proposed was very different from what the The Speaker thought it advisable that House expected, and instead of being of a the hon. baronet should read the part softer, was of a severer nature than the which he conceived might prove objeclast. He thought the best thing would be lionable. to withdraw the Bill, and ask leave to
8 "osir W. Curtis then read part of the bring in another.
prayer of the Petition, stating, that it was Mr. Serjeant Best objected to this course, with feelings of indignation the petitioners as likely to give additional trouble to the had perceived his Majesty's ministers had House.
proposed to revive an odious tax, and Mr. Abercrombie thought that the vital praying the Fouse to stop the course of forms of the House would be evaded, by a weak, rash, and infatuated Administration the manner in which it was attempted to in their mad career, and preserve the pass this Bill through the second and most peace and prosperity of the nation. material stage. Under these circumstances, The Speaker said, that it was now for he thought the hon. and learned gentle- the House to judge from what they had man ought to withdraw the Bill altogether, heard, whether the Petition was for the and bring it in again, in a complete Property-tax or against it. shape, so that the House might be able to The question being put for bringing up consider it in its perfect bearings.
the Petition, The Speaker said, that in all cases where The Chancellor of the Erchequer said, that the objects of a bill bad not been properly he thought the House bad heard enough explained to, or understood by the House, to induce them to reject it. the introducer had the option of with- Mr. Horner observed, that the rule of drawing it, in whatever stage it might be, the House ought only to be applied prac. and bringing in another, consonant with tically to the case for which it was inhis own views, and in an intelligible tended. Coming from so great and reshape.
spectable a body-[A laugh on the MiMr. Serjeant Best then agreed to with nisterial side of the House ] --coming, he draw the present Bill, and the order for repeated, from a most numerous and rethe second reading was discharged. Leave spectable body, the Petition ought not to was then given to bring in a Bill in a per- be rejected on a mere point of form, unfect form.
less it came strictly and indisputably within the rule. The prayer of the Peti- | insult the House. He was sure the House tion said nothing regarding the Property- would not permit it to lie on the table. tax, and only required ihat the House Mr. Whitbread said, that the learned should take the matters stated in the member could not be sure what the House body of the instrument into consideration. would do with the Petition, till they had The prayer of the Petition was against his come to a vote. . The learned member had Majesty's Government, who were termed not yet read the Petition, and yet be bad weak, rash, and infatuated. The Pro-termed it a gross libel. He hoped to find perty tax was stated as one of the com- him mistaken. The Chancellor of the plaints against them, but it was not made Exchequer had become very humorous the substantive object of the Petition. If about the city when they turned against the citizens of London bad petitioned him : at other times they were found against the Property tax, they would very useful both by him and the worthy have prayed to be heard by counsel, and alderman. The prayer was to stop the that the Bill might not be passed into career of ministers, wbich occasioned a law.
grievances, and would bring on the ProMr. Bathurst was willing to give the perty-tax. Nice and fine distinctions petitioners all the respect they deserved. should be avoided respecting the receiving He did not think that the words employed of Petitions. The livery were most unat all warranted the construction put upon happy in their representative, who said them by the hon. gentleman. The object he was bound to present the Petition, but was not so much to complain of ministers, yet evinced so much reluctance in doing as of the tax which was mentioned, co his duty. If he was their representative nomine, as an intolerable grievance. The in Guildhall, he certainly was counsel prayer was, that the matters above stated against them in that House. His pleading should be considered, and one of those against the Petition was even more able matters was the Property-tax.
and effectual than the learned serjeant's; Sir John Newport referred to the memo- and surely, had he seen a libel such as rable dictum of the Speaker on a former the learned serjeant mentioned, he would occasion, that the doors of the House have pounced upon it at once. The ought to be opened wide for the admission House would not, either in compliment of petitions, and contended that this great to him, or to ministers, do so violent an object ought not to be defeated by tecb- act as to reject a petition which the wortby nical objections. Complaint was against alderman himself said came from a body ministers for proposing the Property-tax, constitutionally convened. and not specifically against that measure, Mr. Peel observed, that the tax was which was still pending; the petitioners distinctly stated, and then came a prayer required that the country should be pro- for the consideration of divers matters, in tected against the consequences of the order to stop the career of rash ministers, misconduct of a weak, rash, and infatuated The objection to the Petition did not proAdministration. It was not difficult to ceed from any desire to prevent the exdiscover the motive for the opposition pression of the petitioners' sentiments, now given it was to screen Government but for the purpose of supporting the rules for a time against the indignation of a of the House. large and most respectable body of per- Mr. Tierney said, that there were two sons who were convinced of its incapacity. modes of presenting petitions ; one to
Mr. Serjeant Best contended, that the Pe- obtain its reception, and the other to tition expressly prayed the rejection of the secure its rejection by the House : which Property tax Bill-[A cry of No, no!']. the worthy baronet bad adopted, the Whether it did or did not, was a matter House could easily determine. "The Peof very little consequence, since the in- lition complained of a weak, rash, and strument could not be received, as it was infatuated Administration, that bad recouched in the most disrespectful terms- sorted to an odious tax, from which they the first two lines contained a most gross hoped to have been free; but the prayer and infamous libel upon the House and was not directed against the tax, what. upon the constitution. The individuals ever ingenuity might be displayed to who have signed it must have known that show the contrary. If there were any it could not be received ; and he could valid objection, it could not have hapnot conceive that it was the duty of any pened that gentlemen on the other side member to present a petition designed to should take such different grounds. It
was true that the name of the Property- | wbich was, that it was said to be ex. tax was mentioned, but the aim was tremely improper for the House to reagainst the members of the Government. ceive. If that was the case, he should be The object was to remove the present very unwilling that it should be got rid Government; and he would undertake, of simply by a technical objection. without communication with them, that Mr. W. Sinith said, that the usual course the petitioners would be fully satisfied if was to call on the member who presented that object were accomplished. He took the petition, to read the prayer of it. In a distinction between a new tax and the that prayer there was nothing to be obrevival of an old tax, and doubled wbejected to. The House, therefore, should ther on that account the rule in the pre- not refuse to hear the Petition read, t.ee sent instance could be applied-[Laughter cause a member who unwillingly pies from ministers]. It was a matter well sented it quarrelled with some of its senme that the grievous complaints or the ni Sir W. Curtis observed, that he had metropolis of the empire, were the ridi- entertained doubts as to the admissibility cule of the ministers. This technical of the Petition, which he had communiobjection was very welcome to the other cated to the right bon, the Chancellor of side of the House; it was a good expe- the Exchequer, who entertained more dient to screen unpopular ministers from than doubts respecting it. He had compublic execration. He was willing to municated, therefore, his doubts to the rest the whole upon this point; whether House, but he did not wish to prejudice the citizens of London, in resolving upon them against the Petition. the Petition, meant it as a Petition against The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that the Property-tax?
if the Petition was against the ministers Sir W. Curtis said, certainly.
and their measures generally, it could not Mr. Wallace said, that there never was be objected to; but if it objected to certain a stronger ground of rejection. The Pe- specific measures, of which the Propertytion desired the consideration of the pro- tax was one, it would be inconsistent posed tax; and it grossly misrepresented with the rule of the House to receive it. the situation and character of the House It would be an assistance to the judgment with the public.
of the House, if the worthy alderman Mr. Baring said, the circumstance that would state more fully the substance of the Petition was presented by the worthy the whole Petition, or the circumstances alderman, was primâ facie evidence that which took place when it was agreed to ;no disrespect was intended to the House. as, for instance, whether any mention had As to its being a Petition against a new been made of the Property-tax at the tax, it was to be considered, io the first time. place, that the Property-tax was not a Mr. Ponsonby said, he had never witnew tax, but a continuation of an old nessed such a debate as the present the tax, which alone would induce him to presenter of a petition diligently finding entertain considerable doubts till he heard objections to it, and the minister ferreting the opinion of the chair: io the next out reasons in support of him. Instead place, in the prayer of the Petition there of astuteness in finding out reasons for was not a word of the tax, which was rejection, the astuteness would be better merely mentioned incidentally; he should employed in discovering causes for retherefore vote for the bringing up the Pe- civing a petition. He did not understand tition. Let the House hear what it was; a petition against a tax by implication. and reject it, if it should prove improper. Probably no two would agree on the As far as he had looked at it, there was in exact point of objection. Th
rule was, it that which he did not concur in, and not to receive a petition against a tax nothing to induce bim to regard it with proposed for the ways and means of the much favour; but the objection respecting present year; but, then, the prayer must the tax seemed rather a stretch of the distinctly express that request. Inference rule.
and deduction were not fair grounds of Lord Compton observed, that when there rejection. He had seen many petitions was a doubt as to the meaning of a peli- more offensive than the present; but the tion, the natural course was to bring it House ought to know its contents. Were up and suffer it to be read. There was he on the opposite bench in such a case, another reason why it should be received, he should be desirous of receiving it.
Sir W. Curtis moved, that the Petition places him without the pale of civil and be read,
social relations, renders him liable to public Mr. H. Sumner was in favour of reading vengeance, and that, consequently, there it. The tax might be so introduced as to can be neither peace nor truce with him ; be incidental to the chief object of the principles revolting to the feelings of civiprayer. Though he did not concur in the lized society, repugnant to the rights, use of the word execration, yet he did liberties, and security of all states, and not think that sufficient to exclude it. Aevincing a combination, or rather a congeneral courtesy should be observed | spiracy, which, if once sanctioned, would towards petitions when they were not lead to consequences the most dreadful offensive, or wben particular points might and alarming, and for which there is no be liberally construed. He should vote parallel in the history of the world; and against the rejection, unless the Speaker that, recollecting the noble struggles said it might be read as part of the worthy which our ancestors have made for realderman's speech.
establishing and preserving their liberties, The Speaker observed, that the member recollecting the frequent reformations they who presented a petition to the House was have made in the Government, that they bound to slate the substance of it; but if have always maintained and exercised the House wished to hear the words, the this right, and that the august Family now course was, that the clerk at the table on the Throne derived the right to the should read it. As to the rule against crown, not by hereditary claims, but upon receiving petitions against taxes, it clearly the legitimate foundation of all authority, was, that no petition should be received the choice of the people, and indignantly against any tax voted in the committee of disclaiming, as our ancestors bave done, Ways and Means for the year.
all right in Foreign Powers to interfere in The Petition was then presented and our internal concerns, the petitioners read; setting forth,
cannot but consider any attempt to dictate “ That the petitioners, having so re- to France, or any other country, the form cently witnessed the marked disregard or mode of its government, the person who shown to the petitions from the City of shall or shall not be at the head of such London, and those of the nation at large, government, or in any way to interfere in could not fail to have been confirmed in its internal policy and regulations, as their conviction of the corrupt state of the highly impolitic and manifestly unjust : representation, and of the want of sym. The petitioners, therefore, deprecate any pathy in the House with the feelings and designs to involve this country in a war opinions of the people; and that these for such an object, a war against those considerations would, under circumstances principles which this nation has always of less importance, have deterred the maintained and acted upon; and that, torn petitioners from the exercise of a right by the miseries and calamities of the late which appears to pave been rendered devastating war, still tasting the bitter nugatory; but, hopeless as they fear it is fruits of that protracted conflict, and no again lo address the House, yet at a crisis means having been adopted to lessen our 80 momentous, when a determination has burthens, by those necessary retrencha been so strongly manifested by the minis. ments in the national expenditure so earters of the Crown again to plunge this nestly and so repeatedly called for by the devoted country into the horrors of war, people, but, on the contrary, an Act has the petitioners feel it to be an imperious been passed restricting the importation of duty to their country, themselves, and corn, by which a tax is virtually imposed posterity, to use every constitutional of several millions per annum upon food, means towards averting from the nation entailing upon us, in times of peace, one tbe overwhelming calamities with which of the greatest evils produced by the war: it is menaced; and that they have seen, before, therefore, we are plunged into with feelings of abhorrence, the declara- another war, and in support of such printions and treaties of the Allied Powers, ciples, the petitioners might ask the and to which are affixed the names of House, what has been gained by the British ministers, wherein are avowed and immense sacrifices we have already made; promulgated the monstrous and unheard- and, contemplacing the disastrous conseof principles, that the breach of a conven. quences of a failure in this new contest tion by a Sovereign destroys the only the people have a right to demand, what legal title on which bis existence depended, advantages are proposed even in the event