Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

13 articles on this Page

1jr JaUDon CorrEspcmurnl.!

[No title]



IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT. In tha. House of Lords on Thursday, March 1, on the order of the day for reading the Attorneys and Solicitors (No. 21*Bill, the Lord Chancellor presented a petition from the Metropolitan Law Association against the Solicitors' bill, Lord Chelmsford did not know who was entrusted with the care of this Bill, which was just sent up from the Lower House, but he would himself propose to introduce the bill of last session, not thinking the bill alluded to calculated to effect the desired object. He moved the first reading of this Bill. Aftera few words from the Lord Chancellor the Bill was read a first time. The Probate and Administration (India) Bill passed through committee. Some returns were ordered relative to accidents from furious driving, on the motion of the Marquis of Westmeath, alter a few observations from the Lord Chancellor. The House then adjourned. In the House of Commons, after some preliminary remarks in answer to a question from Mr. Stewart, relative to the alleged Austrian and Russian Treaty, Lord J. Russell said the Government had been informed by the Ministers abroad that there was no such treaty. THE REFORM BILL. Lord John Russell rose at five minutes to five for the purpose of asking leave to bring in a bill further to amend the law relating to the representation of the people m Parliament. After some preliminary observations, his lordship said what he now proposed to do, was to supply some omissions in the late Reform Act, which were of considerable importance. There was one point upon which the opinion of the country had been expressed, which was the mode of voting in counties. He proposed to add to the counties an occupation franchise of 101. a year, and means would be taken to secure that it should be a bona fide occupation, and that there should be a building of not less than 5?., except in case of dwelling-houses. He now came to the lowering of the borough franchise. The Act of 1832 was framed not to exclude the working classes, but to open the franchise "wider to the middle classes; but it would be a great evil to continue much longer the practical exclu- sion of a great number of the working classes, who, by their and character, were competent to exercise the franchise freely and independently, and, in his opinion, it would add strength to the constitution if a certain number of those classes. qualified for it should be admitted to the franchise. He thought that the Legislature ought not to wait for an agitation that would force demands upon Parliament that if the desire for the franchise by these classes was founded upon a fair appreciation of their own qualities, and it could be conceded "with safety to the constitution, concession should not be delayed be- cause there had not been any agitation. In another respect the Government had thought it' on the whole better to make the measure as simple as possible they had not introduced franchises not known to the constitution, or what had been termed "fancy franchises." What they pro- posed was to extend the borough franchise now enjoyed. One question had been frequently discussed with reference to that franchise. He stated reasons why the Government had thought it would not be advisable, but, on the contrary, prac- tically inconvenient, to have a rated franchise. The next ques- tion was, what should be the gross annual rental, and Lord John, taking the number of electors for cities and boroughs now on the register at 440,000, showed the number that would be added if the occupation franchise was reduced to Pl,, St., 71., and 61. the 'latter sum would give an aggregate number of electors in the cities and boroughs In England and Wales of 634,000, which he thought not an extravagant or exorbitant addition. With regard to the character of the persons who would be admitted, the accounts from the different cities and boroughs varied extremely in some rents were low, in others high but he believed that a 6I. franchise would include a great number of the working classes; that the number would not be extravagant, and that their admission would be a great benefit to the consti- tution. He now came to another question, totally different. He believed it was quite necessary that, besides great coun- ties and large cities and manufacturing towns, smaller places should return members to Parliament, and that if the Govern- ment was to be carried on in that House, it was desirable to have more than two classes of representatives for counties and for great cities, and no plan of reform had proceeded upon a different principle. Having laid down this general rule, and treating the subject practically, there was a question which concerned the present state of the House. When the Re- form Bill of 1831 was introduced there was no difficulty in abolishing the title to return members enjoyed by certain boroughs with few or no electors. Without going now into the question as to how many small boroughs there ought to be, the Government proposed to go only a certain length beyond the Bill of last year,, which took away one member from 15 places returning two members. The principle of total disfranchisement was one of very great importance, and ought not to be adopted without some great and palpa- ble public benefit. The Government proposed a much milder course — that the following boroughs should return one member instead of two, as at present:— Hsniton, Thetford, Totnes, Harwich, Evesham, Wells, Richmond, Marlborongh, Leominster, Lymington, Ludlow, Andover, Knaresborough-, Tewkesbury, Maldon, Bipon, Cirencester, Huntingdon, Chippenham, Bodmin, Dorchester, Marlow, Devizes, Hertford, and Guildford. There would, therefore, be 25 seats to be disposed of, and it was proposed that the following counties should return additional mem- bers, viz.:—The West Riding of Yorkshire, two and one to each of the followingThe southern division of Lancashire, the northern division of Lancashire, the county of Middlesex, the western division of Kent, the southern division of Devon- shire, the southern division of Staffordshire, the North Riding of Yorkshire, the parts of Lindsey, (Lincolnshire), the south- ern division of Essex, the eastern division of Somerset, the western division of Norfolk, the western division of Cornwall, and the northern division of Essex. Thus, 15 additional members would be given to the counties, and, with regard to boroughs, it was proposed that Kensington and Chelsea (as one borough) should return two members that Birkenhead, Staleybridge, and Burnley should return one member each, and Manchester, Liverpool, Birming- ham, and Leeds, three members each, instead of two and the London University one member. This, he repeated, was a simple plan, containing as little novelty as possible. In conclusion, he remarked that, although he had not been successful in the two measures he had proposed upon this subject, he was not discouraged, and felt sure that the measure he now offered to the House would strengthen the foundations of the constitution. Various explanations were asked and given, and some strictures were bestowed upon the plan, Mr. T. Buncombe ex. pressing great disappointment, especially because it did not include the lodger franchise. Leave was then given to introduce the bill. Mr. Cardwell then moved to bring in a similar Bill for Ire- land, briefly explaining its leading features. It reduced, he said, the qualification for voting for counties from 12I. (re- quired by the Act of 1850) to 10Z., and substituted a borough franchise of (U. for 81., and it proposed to give to the county of Cork and the city of Dublin three members each, instead of two, supplying the additional members from the four seats in En- gland suspended and unappropriated. He hoped, he observed, that a day might come when Parliament would think it right to give a member to the Queen's University but, looking at the circumstances of the University, he did not think. it right to make such a proposal yet. The bill proposed likewise to remove the disqualification of Peers of Ireland to represent Irish constituencies. After some discussion, leave was given to introduce this Bill. The Lord Advocate asked leave to introduce a similar measure for Scotland, which appropriated two of the four suspended seats in England to the Scotch Universities, and provided a lOl. occupation-franchise for counties, and a borough franchise of 61., the basis of the franchise to be the valuation roils. It proposed to reduce the property qualifi- cation for counties from 10I. to hi., enforcing residence unless the property is of the former amount. Much desultory .discussion followed, and in the end leave was given. The three Bills were subsequently brought in. On the motion of Mr. Mackinnon, a Committee was ap- pointed to consider the subject of disputes between masteva and workmen. The House then went into committee upon the Customs' Acts, which raised fresh discussion upon the whole policy of the treaty. After an attempt to adjourn the debate the Committee divided upon an amendment, relating to silk fabrics, moved by Sir J. Paxton, which was negatived. The resolution was then agreed to, and the House, after some further business, adjourned. In the House of Lords on Friday, March 2, Lord de Grey and Ripon, in reply to Lord Powis, said it was not the inten- tion of Her Majesty's Government to assemble the yeomanry either for permanent duty or for training and exercise during the present year. He did not apprehend that the efficiency of the yeomanry would suffer thereby. After a few remarks from Lords Malmesbury, Darnley, Warwick, and Dungannon, Lord Ellenborough expressed his surprise at the determination of the Government on this subject, and strongly deprecated thia repudiation of the services of the Yeomanry on the ground of expense. The Duke of Newcastle defended the Government against the attacks of Lords Malmesbury and Ellenborough, and said there was no disposition on the part of the Govern- ment to make light of the services of the Yeomanry. In reply to Lord Derby, he said that he had no doubt that if application were made to the Treasury by the War Depart- ment the same exemption would be allowed to the Yeomanry in regard to horse duty as before. Their Lordships then adjourned. In the House of Commons, after the transaction of some private business of no public importance, Lord John Russell's appearance at the bar, with the papers relating to the designs of France upon Savoy, gave rise to a long and in- teresting, though intermittent discussion. In answer to various questions, Lord John repeated his former statement as to what had passed between the two Governments on this subject, and read from a newspaper telegraphic report of the Emperor's speech the passage relating to Sardinia and Savoy. He understood the Emperor to mean that if the Great Powers disapproved of the annexation it would not take place. His lordship declined the unusual course of fixing a day for the discussion of the correspondence but intimated that he was quite ready to facilitate such a discussion. A question by the O'Donoghue as to the receipt of an Irish Catholic memorial gave occasion to Lord Palmerston- to re- peat that the policy of her Majesty's Government is that of the strictest non-interference between the Italian Princes and their subjects. Sir R. Peel called the attention of Government to a varia- tion in the original text of the Emperor's speech, as pub- lished in the papers, and, after a strong denunciation of the project, asked for more explicit information upon the sub- ject of the annexation. Mr Bright wanted to know what Sir Robert himself would advise ? We could only prevent the annexation by war and he did not believe we were called upon to spend a shilling, or shed a drop of blood, in such a cause. He was informed that all classes in Savoy desired the annexation—the land- holders because it would increase the value of their land, and the labourers because it would increase the value of their labour. Lord John Manners denounced this language as un-English. Mr. M. Milnes took a medium view of the question, and Sir Robert Peel rose again to disclaim any desire to break with France. Lord John Russell advised a supervision of judgment, as to the words in dispute, until the authorised version of the Imperial speech should have been received; and confirmed his representations of the Emperor's meaning by the assur- ances of the French Ambassador. Sir F. Baring asked the intentions of Government with re- spect to any reward to Captain M'Clintock and the crew of the discovery-ship Fox. This led to some eloquent eulogiums on both sides of the House. Lord Palmerston in reply intimated an intention to ask the House for a grant of money to give effect to the general wish. He also concurred in the suggestion that there should be some monument to commemorate the services of Sir J. Franklin. The Premier's reply was received with great satisfaction. The House then went into Committee upon the Customs j Acts, and proceeded with the remaining resolutions. Mr. T. Duncombe moved that the duty on foreign spirits be 9s. instead of 8s. 64, the gallon. This amendment was resisted by the Chancellor of the Ex- quer, and; after a long discussion, it was negatived upon a division by 191 to 48. The resolutions were then ordered;io be reported. Certain Bills were thenjorwarded a stage, and the House adjourned. In the House of Lords on Monday, March 5, the Duke of Newcastle stated the course Her Majesty's Government in- tended to pursue with respect to a vote of the House in reference to the treaty of commerce with France. He said that if the address should be brought up on Tuesday from the Commons the Government proposed to discuss it in their Lordships' House on Friday, but if it were brought up on Thursday, to postpone the discussion to Monday. p Lord Shaftesbury presented a petition from 10,000 persons in Nottingham and its neighbourhood, praying that the lace trade should be brought under the operation of the Factory Act. He pointed out the lamentable consequences which late hours and want of parental control at night had upon the morals of the children, as well as on their physical con- dition, and concluded by expressing his intention to bring in a Bill to extend the Factory Act to the lace trade. The Duke of Newcastle believed there would be no opposition to the proposed Bill ifthesmallermanufacturers were dealt with carefully, and if the new system were introduced gradually. The Companies' (I860) Bill was read a third time, and the Administration of Poison Bill a second time after which their Lordships adjourned. In the House of Commons, the Report on the Customs Acts was brought up and agreed to, with a few amendments. On proceeding to the other orders of the day. Lord Palmerston moved that they be postponed until after the notice of motion given by Mr. Byng for an address to Her Majesty on the subject of the Commercial Treaty with France. Mr. Lindsay observed that the terms of that motion were not before the House; and Mr. Kinglake opposed the motion of Lord Palmerston. The House, he remarked, ought not to go further until It had fuller information as to the real state of our relations with France, and an opportunity of consider- ing the papers recently laid upon the table relating to Savoy. He called upon the' House not to depart from the ordinary mode of proceeding. Mr. Byng said, if it was the opinion of the House that the exact terms of his motion should be previously before it, he would postpone the motion until Thursday. Lord Palmerston thereupon offered to withdraw his motion. Objections were raised to the proposed day, and the discussion of this question gradually drew into its area topics of much larger dimensions, the most prominent being the annexation of SaVoy to France. Mr. S. Fitzgerald urged this subject with great earnestness upon the House, and expressed his hope that Parliament would make a solemn protest against that act. Mr. Bright condemned the terms employed by Mr. Fitz- gerald, which, he thought, amounted to -a sort of menace, and implored the House not to show the country that they preferred party embarrassments and perhaps party victories to the acceptance of a great treaty, and that they desired to break off friendly relations with France for party objects, of which a great party ought to be ashamed. After some remarks from Mr. Whiteside and Mr. Fitz- gerald, Mr. Roebuck inveighed against the Emperor of the French, whom he accused of breach of treaties. He feared, he said, lest England should be thought to truckle to him. There was something in the grave, solemn declaration of a nation like England. With the treaty of commerce he should be anxious to close, if he could but the considera- tion of that question ought to be deferred until the, House had an opportunity Of "declaring it's opinion on the annexa- tion of Savoy. Mr. Coningham protested against such language as Mr. Roebuck had applied to the ruler of France, than which nothing, he said, could be more Injurious to the interests of England, of civilisation, and of liberty. Lord J. Russell said, if it was thought necessary to take the whole question of Savoy out of the hands of Her Majesty's Government, that might be a useful course; but there was one course which was consistent neither with constitutional proceedings in that House nor with the confidence usually placed in the Government, and, above all, not consistent with amicable feelings between this country and France and that was renewing, day after day, irritating discussions upon this subject, asking for no decisive vote, proposing no definite result, but sowing suspicion and distrust, calculated to bring about a total rupture with a neighbouring friendly country. After recapitulating the course which the question had taken, and the position in which it now stood, he asked whether the present was the moment for raising this dis- cussion. His persuasion was, he said, that if the language of disapprobation was heard from all the great Powers, the project of annexation would not be persevered in. The Go- vernment of Sardinia, the Power most interested in the question, had not spoken upon the subject. His opinion was, that the Treaty of Commerce with France was destined, if approved by Parliament, to draw closer the ties of friendship between the two nations, by giving both an interest in the blessings of peace, which would tend to prevent the great calamity of war. After some further discussion, the motion was withdrawn. The House then went into Committee upon the Customs Acts, when certain resolutions were agreed to, repealing and reducing duties on a great variety of articles not under treaty. In a Committee of Ways and Means, a resolution was agreed to, granting drawbacks and allowances upon spirits. On the order for the second reading of the Savings Banks and Friendly Societies Investments Bill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer expl ained its general nature. The govern- ment and management of Savings Banks, and the security which depositors ought to enjoy or do enjoy as respected the liabilities towards them, this Bill, he said, had nothing to do with. Its main object was to provide for a real and bona fide statement of this portion of the National Debt; it likewise imposed certain limitations upon the powers of the Executive Government over the monies of Savings Banks and Friendly Societies, and it provided a larger liberty of investment for those funds than heretofore, under certain restrictions, and a power of varying securities. The effect of the proposed arrangements would be a permanent saving to the country in two or three years of not less than effect of the proposed arrangements would be a permanent saving to the country in two or three years of not less than 40,0001. or 50,0001. a-year. After some observations from Mr. Henley, Mr. Ayrton, and Mr. Hankey, the bill was read a second time. The Packet Service (Transfer of Contracts) Bill and the Medical Acts Amendment Bill passed through Committee. On the order for the second reading of the Settled Estates Act (1856) Amendment Bill, a short discussion ensued, which ended in a division, by which the bill Was lost. The remaining business was then disposed of, and the House adjourned. In the House of Lords on Tuesday, March 6th, the Earl of Ellenborough asked the Government how it was that, in the correspondence respecting the proposed annexation of Savoy recently laid on the table, no mention was made of any negociations between this country and Prussia and Austria. He wished to know whether, and at that time, the views of her Majesty's Government were expressed to Russia, Prussia, and Austria, respecting the annexation. The Duke of Newcastle said that the views of the Govern- ment had been communicated to the three Powers named. The same dispatches were sent to Lord Cowley, and which had been laid before their lordships, were sent to them during the month of February. The Earl of Derby asked if a "dispatch alluded to by Lord Cowley in one written by him on the 25th, could be given to the House. It was not included in the correspondence. The Duke of Newcastle said the dispatch was not of importance, but there was no sort of objection to its presentation to the House. Lord Wodehouse laid the dispatch in question on the table. The motion for an address respecting the Commercial Treaty was postponed till the Thursday of next week. In the House of Commons Mr. Kinglake gave notice of a humble address to her Majesty respecting the Savoy and Nice correspondence, and expressing the deep concern of the House as to the projected annexation of those provinces to France. This led to some questions from other members, to which Lord 1. Russell promised replies at another time. Mr. H. Berkeley gave notice that on the 22nd instant he would move for leave to bring in a Bill to enable electors to vote by ballot. Mr. Stirling asked the Secretary of StateWor the Home Department whether it was the intention of her Majesty's. Government to introduce into Parliament, in the present session, any Bill to amend the Lunacy (Scotland) Act. Sir G. Lewis said that such a measure was under consideration of the Lord Advocate. Sir De Lacy Evans moved that an humble address be pre- sented to her Majesty, praying that she will be graciously pleased to order the gradual abolition, as soon as practicable, of the sale and purchase of commission in the army (having due regard in doing so to exist- ing rights), with the view of substituing for the purchase system, promotion partly by selection, partly seniority, grounded on war services of merit, length of colonial and home services, and attested professional fitness-under such regulations as Her Majesty shall be pleased to direct. The gallant gentleman, who was very indistinctly heard, was understood to recommend that as a first step the Government should abolish purchase in the case of majors and lieutenant- colonels, the cost of which to the conntry would be 61,000l. for the first year, after which the sum would gradually diminish year by year, till it was totally extinguished.










[No title]