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HOUSK OF LORDS, MAY 7. Lord SUFFIELD presented 50 petitions from various place,, ili lit) gland, prajing for the immediate abolition f slavery. The Karl of RII'ON presented several petitions to the same tftect. The Duke of RICH MOND presented similar petitions t'tvm lisstx. Lord WESTERN presented a petition from a parish in Essex against slavery also a petition in favour of the Ivoi-al Registration Bill. Also a petition from the PrO- trstant Dissenters, praying for the repeal of the oath on their admission to academic honours. The Duke of WELLINGTON presented a petition from Waterford, complaining of the Navigation Laws. SCOTCH UNIVERSITIES. The Earl of HADDINGTON said, that Sleing his noble friend the Secretary of State for the Home De- partment in his place, he wished to ask him a question. In 12(j or 1827 his Majest), by virtue of his authority as a visitor of the Scottish Universities, appointed a board of coiuniirsiotiers to examine, report, and make public, all matters relating to the discipline, course nf studies, re- venue, &c. of the Scottish Universities. The board, of which ht (the Eail of Haddington) was a member, sat from time to time, and made a most voluminous report in relation to the affairs of these universities. This re- port was made in 1830, and his noble friend, when he became a member of the administration, must have found the document in his office. It was not for him to say how far the report was deserving of the attention of the go- vernment. His object in rising was to ak his noble triend it it was likely that the government would act upon the report in question, and if so, when ? Lord M ELBOURNE said that it might appear to be neglect on the part of the government not to have done .something in respect to the report alluded to by his noble friend but when the extent to which the report ran, and the changes which it suggested, for in many cases it re- commended an entire alteration in the course of studies at present practised in the Scottish Universities—when, he said, all these things were to be c nsidered, he thought that the government had a sufficient excuse for not hastily adopting the extensive measures proposed by the Board of Commissioners. He could, however, assure his noble friend that it was the intention of the government to act upon the report in question, but he could not then say -ii,it part of it would receive the attention of government. Ail hecould say, was that the subject was under the con- sideration of the government, and that the earliest oppor- tunity would be taken advantage of to bring the matter to a tern.ination. The LORD CHANCELLOR observed that the evi- dence and other matters contained in the report of the Scottish University Commissioners were of the most va- luable kind. But there was also another source from which information on the same subject was pouring in to the government, which in no little degree differed from tint contained in the report. Government, therefore, were b. und to consider well the bearing of the corfl.cting evidence before they propounded any measure for im- Jroving the general state of the Scottish universities. This consideration amongst other things produced the delay alluded to by the noble earl (Haddington). Here the conversation diopptd. Ead KITZWILLIAM presented several petitions against slavery, from Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, B ith, a;id o her places. The noble earl also presented a peti- tion from the Political Union of Glasgow, praying for a repeal of the corn laws. Earl URliV presented a petition from the corporation of the city of London praying for the immediate aboli. tion of slavery also several similar petitions from va- rious places in the neighbourhood or Londo-i also a petition praying for a revision of the criminal code. Lord GOSFORD presented a petition from Tanderajee against slavery. REVISION OF THE CRIMINAL LAW. The Duke of SUSSEX presented the following petition, praying tor a revision of the criminal law To the Itight Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled. The Petition of the undersigned Inhabitants of London and its vicinity, agreed to at a Public Meeting, held in Exeter Hall, Humbly showeth, That your petitioners are deeply impiessed with the opinion that the efficacy of criminal laws depends less, upon the severity of punishment than the certainty of infliction; and that laws which cannot be carried into execution without shocking the feelings of society, and exciting sympathy for the offender, are contrary to reason, inconsistent with morality, and opposed to the interests of justice. That the criminal laws of England are of a charac- ter so vindictive and barbarous, as to be utterly incapable of uniform execution and that consequently under the present system the lives of men depend less upon the precise and express provisions of law, than upon the temper, feeling, or caprice of a judge, or Secretary of State whence it arises that all the assizes and circuits throughout England afford examples of inequality of punishment, and practical proofs of the arbitrary discre- tion exercised in the selec ion of victijns for the altars of sanguinary j ustice. That the excessive severity of the hw operates to the total impunity of a great proportion of offenders, by deterring humane persons from prosecuting, and by hold- ing out a temp,ation to jurors te violate their oath rather than b-j accessary to judicial murder.-while almost all the capital punishments now on the statute book are in- novations upon the temperate and wholesome principles of the ancient common law of the land, which has ev^r been admired for its humanity and wisdom by the greatest legal authoritijs, and is coeval with the noblest and best principles of the English constitution. That your petitioners, therefore, humbly pray your right honourable house to take the criminal laws into your consideration, and, in accordance with what the true interests of justice, as well as of humanity, require— to introduce such a thorough and efficient reform of the criminal law, as will render it more auxiliary to public morals than to private vengeance and, by a judiciott, system of prison discipline, afford that protection to property, of which all per-ons may avail themselves, without purchasing it by the sacrifice of human life. And your petitioners will ever pray, &c. His Royal Highness said that the petition was signed by 5 X10 persons, many of whom in signing the petition stated that they had been robbed and had refused to pro- secute, thereby exemplifying in their own case the inef- ficiency of the law to protect them. He agreed in that part of the petition which called upon their lordships to see how far a judicious system of prison discipline would lessen the necessity for cruel or extreme punishment. His Royiil Highness then referred to returns, to show that the convictions in cases not capital were 11 per cent.o/er those that were capital. (Hear.) This return applied to Eng- land and Wales. In the metropolis the acquittals in capital c tses wese 41 in every 100, while in non-capital eases they were only as 28 in every 100. Thus showing that the severity of the law operated against the proper punishment of offenders. Having said so much on this subject he would not press the consideration of it more strongl y upon the house further than to say that he hoped that attention would be paid to it which its impottance demanded. After a few observations from the Earl of CLIFTON, Lord SUFFIELD condemned the extreme severity of the criminal law, and presented two petitions praying for its amelioration, from Lilburn and Londonderry. The iVIatquess of BUTE presented a petition against slavery, from it place the name of which did not reach the gallery. Lord LONGFORD presented a petition from Long- ford fur the better observance of the sabbath. The house then adjourned.





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