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THE House of Commons has taken an important and unusual step, in passing a vote of censure upon the Lord Chancellor for the manner in which he has, preformed some of his functions. It has affirmed that he has in certain cases, shown "a laxity of practice and a want of cau- tion with regard to the public interests which are calculated to discredit the administration of his great office." Such a decision is almost unprece- dented in the history of our Parliamentary pro- ceedings. High officers of the State have occa- sionally, in past times been censured for absolute corruption in the discharge of their duties, al- though, for the honour of England, it must be said that these instances have been extremely rare. But for so high an official as the Lord Chancellor, while acquitted of corruption, to be condemned for acting in a manner to "discredit the adminis- tration of his office," is so singular an occurrence as to demand more than passing attention. The immediate cause of the censure passed upon Lord Westbury is the recent inquiry into the circumstances attending the resigna- tion by Mr. Wilde of his office as re- gistrar of the court of Bankruptcy at Leeds. The committee appointed by the House of Commons to investigate this matter were unani- mous in their report that the Lord Chancellor had neglected his duty, in allowing an official whom he himself stigmatised as "a bad public officer," and whose resignation he had demanded, to retire on a pension from the public purse. It was said that the Lord Chancellor had desired to make a vacancy in the Leeds registrartship, in order to appoint thereto a gentleman to whom his son Mr. Richard Bethell, was under considerable pecuniary obligations. But of this portion of the charge Lord Westbury was fully acquitted by the committee, and although Mr. Welch, the gentleman referred to, was appointed to the vacant post, there is nothing to show that this was done from a corrupt motive on the part of the Lord Chancellor. But, while Lord Westbury could not be censured for having corruptly removed Mr. Wilde on private grounds, the whole history of Mr. Wilde's retire- ment was sufficient to show that the Lord Chancellor had been uncommonly remiss in the discharge of his duties, in allowing him the pension allotted for meritorious public service. The pension was granted on a medical certificate which, the Lord Chancellor, who had previously insisted upon Mr. Wilde's resignation, admitted he did not read; and it now appears, from the extended evidence which has been published, that the certificate was obtained for Mr. Wilde by a friend, who informed the medical man that "half a certificate would do." In this very easy and even profitable manner a "bad public officer was allowed to escape. Had this been the only case of the kind which had occurred during the Lord Chancellor's tenure of office, the House of Commons would probably not have been called on to pass a censure like that which was carried on Monday night. But the previous case of Mr. Edmunds' retirement from the Patent-office was more flagrant still. There an official had for years been disposing of the public money for his own private purposes, and when the fact became known, he, too, was suffered not only to quietly resign, but also to claim a handsome pension. It was not within the scope of the recent committee to refer to the Edmundsf case, which had previously formed the subject o inquiry; but the House of Commons of course took into its consideration both these matters, with the very suggestive details springing out of them. The Government could do little to combat the arguments used by the promoters of the voce of censure. The Lord Advocate brought forward, without success, an amendment which would have had the effect of breaking its force, and the Attorney-General exercised all his inge- nuity in attempting to prove that the Lord Chan- cellor's faults were peccadilloes, which should not be suffered to injure the reputation of a great and useful man. Lord Palmerston himself came to the rescue, but without his usual power. He attempted to defeat the objects of the antagonistic party by a side wind, and moved the adjournment of the debate. On this question of adjournment the-real trial of strength was made, and the votes taken were-for the adjournment, 163; against it, 177. Thus there appeared a majority of four- teen virtually in support of the vote. The Government saw it was useless to resist the motion longer, and allowed it to be carried without a division. The result, as was fully expected, has been Lord Wastbuj:.f,s rwignation of office,' and the accept- ance of that resignation by the Government. It was, of course, impossible to continue to hold the great seals while under the censure of Parliament, and the vote of Monday was clearly taken with this issue before the House. The Attorney-General, Sir Roundell Palmer, had, in the course of the debate, reproached the originators of the motion with aiming directly, to drive the noble lord from office; but this issue was accepted by the majority of the House as preferable to silence upon the Chancellor's obvious neglect of duty. The loss of Lord Westbury's services in office is not a light one to the country. As the framer of the new Bankruptcy Law—which, with all its defi- ciencies, many of them resulting from the treat- ment the measure received as it passed through Parliament, abolished imprisonment for debt, and effected other improvements in the law upon that subject-and as the active promoter of the statute law consolidation, he is entitled to the thanks of the country, and to be numbered among our greatest law reformers. But laxity of practice and want of caution" are faults so great when displayed by high State officials, whose duty it is to set an example to all below them, and keep the ad- ministration of the country pure, that it would have been discreditable to the House of Commons to have come to any other decision than that of Monday night.