House Of Commons
Thursday, July 4, 1839.
MINUTES.] Bills. Read a first time:—Town Councils.— Read a second time:—Indemnity; Glass Duties; Lower Canada Governments Turnpike Acts Continuance.— Read a third time:—Joint Tenants Voting; Borough Courts.
Petitions presented. By Messrs. Bainbridge, Stanley, and Leader, from a number of places, for a Uniform Penny Postage.—By Mr. Leader, from Bridgewater, for Vote by Ballot.—By Mr. Sergeant Talfourd, from one place, in favour of the Copyright Bill.—By Sir R. Ferguson, from Derry, and Drogheda, for allowing Presbyterian Soldiers to attend their own places of Worship.—By Mr. W. Duncombe, from several places, for a Harbour of Refuge at Redcar.—By Mr. E. Roche, from Cork, for Justice to Ireland.—By Lord Stanley, from one place, against the Small Debts Bill.
moved the Order of the Day for the second reading of the Lower Canada Government Bill.
said, when her Majesty, on the 6th of February last, was pleased to express a wish that the state of her subjects in Upper Canada should form the matter of prompt and early consideration, he little thought that a question thus earnestly pressed upon the attention of the House should have been allowed to cross and recross the ocean, and to have been three or four times brought forward and then withdrawn; so as at this period of the Session to have only now arrived at a second reading. He wished to take that opportunity of asking her Majesty's Ministers if they thought they really were capable of acting as a government, and entitled, as such, to be intrusted with the conduct of the affairs of this great country? He asked that question, not only on account of his own distrust in their capacity and firmness, but because he believed they must be conscious that by their want of decision and firmness they had forfeited every thing like deference, cordiality, or respect, throughout Great Britain and throughout her colonies. Considering also the small fluctuating majorities, varying from ten to two, which supported them in that House, and that they were all at sixes and sevens among themselves, that they were merely supported in another place where resistance by Conservatives was ineffectual, by a minority, a great portion of whom had been ennobled and promoted to that place by themselves—he did not think they were in any respect qualified to be intrusted with the guidance of public affairs. When, too, he considered the reckless infanticidal manner in which they deserted and abandoned so many of their youthful political measures, their own offspring, he must say that their organs of philoprogenitiveness must be extremely small; but when he looked, on the other hand, to the tenacious manner in which, in the face of all obstacles and degradations, they still stuck fondly to place, he was satisfied their bumps of adhesiveness must be supernaturally large. They had, however, of late made a great discovery. They had opened up a new theory, which, unlike the practice of opening up a country by railroads, had induced them to decide that to make any question on which they disagreed among themselves an "open question," was the sure way of preventing its success. It was a pity they had not made that great discovery in the year 1834, because, in that case, his right hon. Friend might then have had recourse to the expedient of making the appropriation clause an open question as the best way of opposing it, and of securing its defeat. The real reason which led her Majesty's Government to adopt the principle of open questions was, that it enabled them to keep place with salary unabandoned and patronage undiminished. The concurrent testimony, not only of opponents, but even of their own supporters was, that their measures were inconsistent, evasive, ambiguous and unsatisfactory. Nobody could tell what measures which they supported to-day might not be abandoned in the next. When Lord Melbourne resumed office, after having resigned, from a confession that he no longer possessed the confidence of the House of Commons, he maintained that the noble Viscount ought to have instantly come forward with a statement of the general policy on which his Government was to be conducted for the future. But no such explanation had been given. The only result had been that some young people had been permitted to retain their places about the court. But he wished to know what had since been done by the Government of the country, and how their position had been altered? He could not see any change since the noble Lord in that House, and Lord Melbourne in another place, confessed that they no longer possessed the confidence of the country. He saw no difference in their conduct before and since their resignation, but he saw a great and striking difference between her Majesty's Ministers and his right hon. Friend. His right hon. Friend was supported by his party because they cordially approved of and concurred in the justice and wisdom of his measures. While of those who voted with the Government many condemned the measures which they still fostered by their votes. He, therefore, protested against the system which they were pursuing, and as regarded Canada, he thought they were only establishing an additional claim to the forfeiture of the confidence of the country.
did not intend to enter into the merits of the question further than to express his deep regret that the Government had not expressed an intention immediately to re-establish the local government of Canada. It would have been most satisfactory to learn that the Government were prepared to follow out the recommendations of Lord Durham's report. If such were the case, public confidence would be immediately restored. He knew from persons in the colony that such a course would be satisfactory, but as the Government had determined upon leaving every thing unsettled, the people in the province were perfectly at a loss what they ought to do. He would impress upon the Government the expediency of acting on the report of Lord Durham, and of coming to a speedy determination. Emigration from the province was going on at a great rate, and every hour that they remained without a settled government only added to the evil. He would not make any remarks upon what he fully believed to have been the origin of all these evils, as that would only aggravate their extent. But he hoped that measures would be speedily taken to remove the cause by the re-establishment of a local government.
would not detain the House, but begged to state, that he differed with the hon. Member for Kilkenny, and thought the House ought to pause and deliberate before they determined on their future proceedings. He rejoiced that her Majesty's Government did not wish to pledge the House to an union of the two provinces, and considered it much better that that question had been left for further consideration. The materials for such an union were discordant, and it could not be accomplished without sacrificing the rights and interests of the people in one province or the other—and what was to the advantage of the public in the Upper, would act injuriously to those in the Lower. He had seen, with deep regret, the recommendation for union, in the otherwise admirable report of Lord. Durham. It would annihilate the political power of the French Canadians. These French Canadians had been justly described in that report as persons highly benevolent, charitable, excellent, and possessed of the best moral qualifications— exemplary in the performance of their duties, and what was their return? To annihilate them as a separate race [No, no!]. He said, "Yes, yes!" If they deprived them of their proper share in the franchise, their acts would at least have that tendency, and would only increase the existing discontent. In fact, they would thus give to those persons a legitimate ground for discontent, as they had done before, and thus perpetuate the evils which they sought to remove. It would be infinitely better to return to an amendment of the old constitution, preserving to each state its separate constitution. But they ought to change the nature of their Executive and Legislative Councils. In the Executive Council of Upper Canada there was not at present a single Canadian born, and in the Legislative Council of that province, four out of five were not born in Canada. How, then, could they expect peace and satisfaction in the colony, when the native population were excluded from power? Nothing but jobbing resulted from such a system, and everything was monopolised by the British-born residents. That was not the proper course to deal with the native population. They ought to act fairly—to deal leniently with them, and, above all, take measures to make the local legislatures depend upon the confidence and true affections of the people. Let them do that, and restore the local governments to each province, and they would have a fair prospect of achieving the pacification of those colonies. The only way it could be done was by measures of conciliation—doubtful, perhaps, even in that way, but certainly not to be accomplished by annihilating their existence as a separate people. The French Canadians were eulogized by Lord Durham as possessing many estimable qualities. They were only accused of being defective in the possession of knowledge and means of education. That defect could be remedied by making the means of instruction more attainable, and aiding the diffusion of knowledge. In other respects, they did not suffer by a comparison with the British residents. He rejoiced in the meantime that Government had not persisted in their measures for pledging the House to the principle of union between the Upper and Lower provinces, as it would give time and opportunity for that deep reflection which the importance of the subject required.
thought it exceedingly desirable that the session should not close and the news of its close go out to the Canadas, without the people of those colonies being informed at the same time what were the opinions of the British Parliament upon the subject of their future government. He would not enter into the merits of any particular plan on this occasion; but he must say, that it was most important that the House and her Majesty's Government should tell the people of Canada what they were to expect. The adoption of any plan for the future government of the Canadas, however defective, would be less mischievous in its results to the people of those colonies than the adoption of none, and the leaving them in doubt as to the future. He had recently received a newspaper from Toronto, now six weeks old, in which it was stated that the people were looking forward with the greatest anxiety for the arrival of new measures for the settlement of their public affairs by the Great Western steam-ship, which was then expected to arrive at New York in a short time. When it was considered that the lives and property of these people and all that they hold dear depended on what measure that House might adopt, what kind of feelings must it be supposed that they must have when they saw nothing but postponement after postponement, and just merely an edge or corner of a proposition let out to excite discussion, and doubt, and discontent? How could it be expected that the people should be satisfied and content when they were kept in continued doubt, not only as to what her Majesty's Government were doing, but as to whether they intended to do anything at all or not? He could assure the noble Lord that a general belief was growing up in the Canadas, that their interests were wholly neglected; and if the Government refused month after month, and session after session, to give a permanent character to the Government there, and to take means to establish order there, what other opinion could the people entertain? The union of the Canadas was a grave question—one that was so important that it seemed scarcely possible any government should propose it without being prepared to carry it into effect. He did not wholly disapprove of the course which the noble Lord had taken, under existing circumstances, but he thought it would have been better if the Government had at once adopted the report of Lord Durham, or declared that they would not adopt it. If they were not prepared to do anything with respect to the permanent government of Canada, they should have said nothing at all; that would have been a much wiser and a much safer course than that which had been pursued. He now wished to ask distinctly, and he thought the noble Lord should state as distinctly, what course the Government meant to adopt in future, in order that when Parliament met the next time they might be able to know whether the Government had secured the assent of the colonies to their propositions. It had been announced that certain propositions were to be sent out, and the probability was that next session the Government would have conflicting opinions to deal with, and be in as much doubt as to what measures should be proposed as they were at present. He was perfectly convinced that the success of the noble Lord's plans was in his own hands. If he chose to put forth a strong measure with a determination to carry it, he had no doubt that he would rally all parties in the colonies around him; because the chief cause of the dissatisfaction there, arose not from any particular error in legislation, not from any bad course which had been followed, but from the adoption of no course at all. The vaccillation, not of this Government particularly, but of the British Government for the last ten years, had brought the colonies to the situation they were now in. If the colonies saw that the Government were fully bent upon a plan of union, the only question which would be agitated there then would be how the plan could best be carried out with perfect fairness to all parties, and he was certain that the assistance of all parties would be readily lent to the furtherance and completion of that plan. From the state of feeling in Nova Scotia and elsewhere, he believed that, so far from any difficulty being experienced in effecting a union of the provinces, it would be perfectly easy to accomplish that larger plan of union of all the British North American colonies, the only plan, according to his opinion, which would be productive of solid advantages to the colonies and the mother country. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had talked about a recommendation that the political annihilation of the French Canadians should be effected by some juggle in the franchise, and the hon. Member for Westminster cheered the observation of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but he wished to know from what part of Lord Durham's report that idea had been taken. The report distinctly stated, that the only plan was to have an honest system of representation. They might rely on the British people being in the majority —first, by having recourse to emigration, and in the second place, by that larger plan of union of all the colonies, which was so desirable. What could be better for the French Canadians than to be made in all respects British subjects, by the adoption of the language, laws, and institutions', of British subjects? Those who had looked into the laws and institutions which the French Canadians had derived from the worst monarchical times of France, must be well aware, that instead of leading them on in civilization, they were calculated to leave them degraded and enslaved. He conceived that the French Canadians ought to be treated as British subjects, and put in possession of all the immunities and rights of British subjects. They were at present the poorest class of the community; they had been gradually losing their property, which had passed into the hands of the British race, who were the rich merchants and great proprietors of the land, and the governing classes. And was it for the benefit of the country that the masses of the people should speak a language different from that of the governing body and the people of property? Or was it not rather the very course to reduce the people to slavery and thorough degradation? If we would make them civilised and free men, we must put them on an equality with the rest of the population, and we must have them speak the language and be partakers of those institutions which were the language and institutions of every free man in North America. If the noble Lord did not mean to adopt the plan of uniting the two provinces, if he meant to oppose that plan, let him say so at once, and let him do every thing in his power to convince the House that it was a plan which ought not to be adopted. But if the noble Lord wished to have the public voice in his favour, he must say that he was taking rather a strange course to secure it. In the first place he did not wish any discussion to go on in that House upon the question of the union of the provinces; and in the second place, all the information he gave in support of that request was, that objections existed in Upper Canada to that plan of union. Her Majesty's Government had been pleased to give the House information as to the mode in which the principles laid down in the report of Lord Durham were treated in the Canadas, they had laid on the table of the House the report of the committee of the Assembly of Upper Canada, impugning some parts of that report; and also some despatches of Sir G. Arthur complaining of other parts of it. Now, if the noble Lord was really anxious that the union should be carried, he thought he might have given the evidence in favour of it as well as that which was against it. He had put forth the report of the committee of the Assembly as decidedly expressive of the feelings of the people of Upper Canada; but he had not told the House that that report was carefully kept back till the very last day of the session, which was to have broken up on the Thursday preceding the Saturday to which it was kept open, and on which day it did break up; and that then, when one third of the Members had gone home, the report was proposed and carried, at the same time that the Clergy Reserves Bill was carried by one vote. As to the objections existing in the Canadas against the plan of union, he knew that two candidates had carried the only two elections which had since taken place by standing on the principles propounded by the report of Lord Durham. The committee had sent over a report, but they had afforded no assistance to legislation; they had done nothing but criticise Lord Durham's report and a speech which he (Mr. Buller) made at the beginning of the session, and cast aspersions on his (Mr. Buller's) character, as being of the same principles as Papineau and M'Kenzie. However, he did not complain of the singular manner in which his speech had been treated, but he must say, that before the noble Lord had laid on the table of the House the despatches of Sir G. Arthur, he should have looked into Lord Durham's report to see whether there was anything in it to justify the querulous complaints of Sir G. Arthur. Her Majesty's Government ought to have made inquiry into the truth of Sir G. Arthur's charges, He had no hesitation in saying that the assertions on which Sir G. Arthur had built his complaints were untrue, not that he charged Sir G. Arthur with stating anything which he knew to be untrue, but that he had not taken sufficient caution, and that he should not have put forth those statements without being first well assured of their accuracy. With respect, for instance, to the execution of those two unfortunate men whose case was made a subject of comment, all that the report of Lord Durham did was simply to mention the fact. Sir G. Arthur asserted that Lord Durham had overstated the number of signatures to the petition in their favour at 30,000, and affirmed that it was only 5,000, and in order to show how perfectly accurate he was, he gave a list of the signatures. But a gentleman from Upper Canada had called on him that very day, and stated, as a fact within his personal knowledge, that to one petition which he himself had presented to Sir G. Arthur, and which Sir G. Arthur had wholly omitted from his catalogue of petitions, more signatures were attached than Sir G. Arthur had acknowledged as the total appended to all the petitions. In conclusion, he must say, that the course pursued by her Majesty's Government was exceedingly unsatisfactory to all parties in Canada, but particularly to the loyal party, who were beginning to think that they had thrown away all their exertions in the support of a Government which seemed to care little or nothing about them.
was aware that this discussion was somewhat irregular, as the order of the day was for the second reading of the Canada Government Bill, and the House had got into a discussion upon the union of the provinces, a measure which had been entirely abandoned by the Government. He was afraid the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard was rather too Utopian in his ideas respecting the advantages to be derived from Lord Durham's report. If a good local government could be permanently established, it would be well, and it was a very desirable object. But the favourite plan of the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard was the union of Upper and Lower Canada; and he must say, that he entirely disagreed both from the report and the hon. and learned Member, upon the propriety of such a union. In the first place, a vast majority of the population of Lower Canada were decidely opposed to that union, and a very great proportion of the people of Upper Canada was also opposed to it; indeed, he was not sure that a majority of the population of the two provinces did not oppose the union. In the next place, if the plan of union were effected, the French Canadians would be completely crushed. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, they must adopt the language, laws, and religion, too, he supposed, of the governing few. Why, that was precisely the case of Ireland, and the cause of the complaints which were heard from Ireland. It might be right, perhaps, according to the view of the hon. and learned Gentleman, that the few English Protestants of Lower Canada should give laws to the many French Roman Catholics there; but then, upon that principle, all that the British Legislature had been doing in favour of the Irish Roman Catholics was wrong. It would be absurd to argue, that the Roman Catholics of Ireland, forming the majority there, should be in possession of rights as British subjects, and that the Roman Catholics of Canada, also forming the majority, should be denied those rights only because they were in Canada, and not in Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman thought, perhaps, that he would be con- ferring a benefit on the French Canadians by making them speak the same tongue, and conforming to the same laws, as the English; and perhaps he might, but unless they could be convinced that it was a benefit, it would be the grossest tyranny, to make them English in language, laws, and religion, against their own feelings and wishes. The hon. and learned Member for Liskeard seemed to think that there was nothing offensive to the French Canadians in Lord Durham's report; that there was nothing which could lead one to imagine that they would be sacrificed in any of the electoral arrangements that were contemplated. Why, one of the chapters of that report was headed, "Acknowledged Inferiority of the French Canadians." It was only recently that a gentleman was arguing with him that the beavers were the first possessors of North America: they were driven out by the Indians, who had too much intelligence and skill for them. The Indians were supplanted by the French, and now came the Anglo Saxons, and the French Canadians, being the weaker, must submit; it was a law of nature. That might be very true; but it would be a disgrace to that House, if by any act of legislation they gave additional power to help the strong to crush the weak. He trusted, that in any future discussion on the question of the union, the French Canadians would have the powerful advocacy of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin against that proposal, and against any plan which, by uniting the two provinces, would sweep their language and their religion from that part of the world. The bill now before the House was truly a bill to enlarge the powers given under the coercive measure passed last session to an already despotic authority. To the present bill he objected, both in principle and detail; he, however, knew he should have little or no support in opposing its progress, and, protesting against it, he would not take up the time of the House by a more formal protest in the shape of a division. As to the details, he trusted hon. Members on both sides of the House would give ample attention, and would not allow any of the clauses to be passed in committee without careful consideration of the results which might follow the powers granted by them. The hon. and learned Member for Liskeard had said, he should like to know what the Government meant to do with respect to Canada during the recess, Why, of course, they would do nothing with it. They were glad now to get rid of the question, and shuffle it off until the next session. The hon. and learned Member stated, that the people of Canada had been impressed with the belief that the Government had been long employed about legislative measures for that country—that they were labouring with assiduity to establish there a good system of government; but, at the very time the innocent population of Canada were thinking this, there was an intrigue going on in the Government to put out one colonial minister, and to bring in another; and if any good had ever been intended, the result of the present session showed that they had not paid the least attention to the interest of that colony. He could not but complain of the manner in which he had been treated by the Government: he had presented two petitions, one from M. Lafontaine, and he had been told by the Government, that, as the whole question would be discussed, the proper time to bring forward the complaints contained in those petitions would be when that discussion took place. No such opportunity had, however, been afforded him — the Government were afraid of meeting the question, and here the end of the Session had arrived without the matter being introduced. He thought that the people of this country and of Canada had a right to complain of the manner in which the affairs of Canada had been dealt with in the present session—he would not say dealt with, but neglected: the bill now before the House, instead of effecting good, would only exasperate the people of Canada, and tend to continue that unhappy state of things, which, after ruining commerce, and preventing all emigration would, if continued for another year, reduce Canada from being one of the most flourishing provinces of North America, to the very verge of ruin.
said, that nothing could be more unwise or impolitic than now to attempt to persuade the House to decide upon the question of the union of the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. It was clear, with various opinions on the different sides of the House, it was impossible to get the assent of the House in the present session to the second reading of the bill for that object; at the same time that the House had not been called upon to pronounce an opinion upon the bill, and though he knew it roust have been rejected on the second reading, yet it would be difficult to remove from the minds of the people of Canada the impression that such was a final decision on the principle of that question. He was therefore not sorry that Parliament had been spared the necessity of rejecting the second reading of that bill. He hoped, however, that the first step of her Majesty's Government would be to make an earnest, and he trusted a successful, exhortation to the Government of the United States lo put an end to the system of horrible border warfare. He could not believe that any of the plans devised by the Legislature could succeed, unless there was a cordial union between the two great Governments of the British provinces, and of the United States, to put an end to that system which was laying the foundation of hostilities, which would otherwise not be limited to the border. He trusted that elements of discord would not be permitted to ripen. The question, however, still remained, what in the mean time was to be done with the Canadas? He held it to be a most difficult problem to solve—he courted a settlement of the question; but he did not discover any prospect—he did not see any vista—he could not find any preparations made to decide the question as to the mode of government in Canada; for the House was not now in a better condition to decide that question than it was five years since. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, who had been in that country, shook his head; but he had read all the reports to which the hon. and learned Gentleman had been a party—he had read all the other reports on the matter, and he confessed he could not find in the documentary information any elements of a settlement. However, he was convinced, that as the Government had now abandoned all legislation at present, it would be necessary that their very first act next session should be, to decide upon the principle on which the Canadas were to be governed; for though nothing could be more plausible than to propose the union of the two provinces, yet unless Parliament was enabled to know the terms of the union, the feelings of the people, both of Upper and Lower Canada, upon those terms, and the prospect of a representative Government, under the Union, giving satisfaction to the population, and affording a guarantee for the enjoyment of liberty by the people, it would be impossible to decide the question. He should be sorry to provoke a discussion on the question of the union of the provinces, and he would content himself with saying, that he hoped the Imperial Parliament would not allow a week to pass after meeting next Session, without determining what should be the position of those two countries. With respect to the present bill, he should offer no opposition to the second reading. Of some portions of the bill he approved; he approved, for instance, of the formation of an effective council, to consist while the present form of Government continued, of not less than twenty persons. He approved of the clause which established a check on despotic power, and provided that there should be in the council a number of persons connected with and interested in the colony, who were to advise the Governor. With regard to the other clauses, he should suspend his judgment, and reserve to himself the right to take any course with respect to them, which he might think fit. By the bill of last year, the Governor in Council was empowered to make ordinances, which, however, were not to endure beyond the year 1842, but the second clause in the present bill enabled the Governor in Council to make ordinances to endure beyond the year 1842. This provision appeared to give therefore, a more permanent and settled form of government, and in this respect the bill gave an unlimited authority, provided her Majesty approved of the ordinances. He had not heard stated what was the reason for this clause. He knew that future Governments might repeal those laws, but still the provision was very different from giving the Governor in council a temporary jurisdiction. Probably, some explanation had been given which he (Sir R. Peel) had not heard. He did not wish to provoke any explanation now, but he trusted, in committee, the provision would be fully explained. As to the other parts of the bill, he reserved himself until the bill got into committee.
said, that seeing the wish of the House not to enter into any discussion on the present stage of the bill, he should not do so. The consideration of the clauses must require the attention of the House when the bill came into committee, and he should then be ready to discuss any clause which the right hon. Gentleman might think objectionable, either in principle or in manner of detail. The hon. and learned Member for Lis- keard (Mr. C. Buller) had, in the course of his observations, implied that the Government had been anxious to avoid discussion on the subject of the union, but the right hon. baronet opposite answered him by saying, it would be unwise and impolitic at present to seek for an expression of opinion by the House upon the principle of that union, either on a resolution, or the second reading of the bill, and therefore a discussion which could tend to no good had been avoided. The hon. and learned member had also remarked upon the comments of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada on the report of Lord Durham. He wished it had not been necessary to have introduced these comments to Parliament, and he owned when he saw those comments he was induced to regret that the Government had not any power to prevent Lord Durham's report leading to such angry recrimination. He would only now explain generally his views as to the necessity of an alteration in the bill of last year. His opinion was decidedly in favour of an union, but he thought during the interval which must elapse before its establishment, it was wise and politic to take every means for the improvement of Lower Canada, for encouraging persons of enterprise to lay out their funds in the extension of roads, canals, and other improvements necessary, in order to establish any new population which might result from emigration. The bill of last year opposed obstacles to these objects, and it was necessary to remove those obstacles. This he thought the present bill would effect. He would not now enter into further discussion, but would be ready to meet any objections when the House went into a committee on the bill.
said, he must say one word in relation to what had just fallen from the noble Lord. For the last two years the province of Lower Canada had been in a state of the most distressing inactivity, all commerce was at an end, emigrants could not establish themselves there with any hope of employment in any public work. So many were suspended, though parties were willing to enter into speculations for the establishment of railroads between Upper and Lower Canada, and though others were willing to contract with the Government to continue the great canals opened by Upper Canada, so as to connect that navigation with the ocean. Every one of these works were necessary to give employment to the population in a country, whose wounds were still bleeding, and where it was expedient to distract men's minds from the horrible scenes in which they had been engaged. He therefore hoped before the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) made up his mind on any of the provisions of this bill, he would take into his consideration the deplorable state to which that country would be reduced if the Imperial Parliament did not afford some legislative means for promoting industry and carrying on the great works already begun. He rejoiced, therefore, that the present bill gave further powers in this respect to the Council, and he concurred with the right hon. Baronet in thinking the proposed addition to the members of the Council a great improvement, and one by which the House was enabled safely to intrust that body with the extended powers. He remembered last year it was thought that sufficient powers were then given to the former council to continue taxation. He made an appeal to the House on that subject, and the right hon. Baronet stated that the restrictions under which the people were placed would be an additional inducement for them to come to that good understanding which might lead to the restoration of their Legislative Assembly. He wished that result had happened—he deplored as deeply as any man the necessity to recur to an absolute form of government; but while that necessity continued, it was hard that the colony should be deprived of the means of internal improvement. He agreed with his noble Friend (Lord J. Russell), and with the right hon. Baronet opposite, that it was easy to adopt some principle of settlement, but difficult when the details of that settlement came to be examined. He thought, however, the principle of union was that on which the settlement must be founded. In favour of that opinion he had the high authority of Sir William Grant, the late Master of the Rolls, who was connected with Canada. He had also the authority of Sir Wilmot Horton, who had introduced the Union Bill in the year 1822. At that period he and others connected with Canada had interviews with Lord Bathurst on the subject, and it was then supposed that the only remedy for the evils of the colony was to unite the two provinces. If they had been united at that time, he was persuaded that none of those consequences which the country had now to deplore would have occurred, and he was also sa- tisfied it would have brought the people of both provinces together by a bond of common interest, by which existing feelings of resentment would have been avoided. In the present state of things the union must be brought about by gradual means. It was his opinion that the Imperial Parliament having failed formerly to establish the union, the best course would have been to have made a Congress or Central Legislature from the two provinces (leaving them still their local assemblies), to determine whether or not there should be an union. At present he agreed with the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) that the Imperial Parliament ought not too long delay the settlement of this important question. It must be settled by general assent, for if it was made a party question he could tell the House it would be a waste of time to deliberate upon it, for if it did not go to Canada with the appearance on the part of Parliament of a firm determination to make it their last effort for the pacification and settlement of the Country, no bill that could be passed, either for the formation of an union or for the establishment of any other form of government, would have any chance of success. He therefore thought it would be better, after such a bill had been read a second time, to send it up stairs to a committee selected from both sides of the House, by whom it might be amply discussed; that it should again pass through a Committee of the whole House, and thus it would have a better chance of obtaining the general assent of the House, and with that general assent it would have a better chance of settling the disputes and differences of the unhappy country to which it was directed.
felt it right that he should repeat on this occasion the opinion to which he had already given expression in that House, that in conceding to the Governor-general of Lower Canada the power of local taxation during the temporary suspension of the ordinary functions of the Legislative Assembly, for the purpose of constructing canals, railways, and other public works, her Majesty's Ministers should most carefully and anxiously inquire into all the circumstances of the case before they brought such a proposition forward. He besought them to remember that the people of Lower Canada had never before been subjected to local taxation, and were impressed with a notion that it was the intention of the English Government to introduce it amongst them. He besought the House to inquire whether they accurately understood the nature of the landed and other tenures on which this taxation must fall. He besought of her Majesty's Government to consider what might be the effect of introducing this local taxation amongst the inhabitants of those districts through which these canals or railways would pass, for the subject was unquestionably one of extreme importance with regard to both countries.
could assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, that it was only after the most mature deliberation that Ministers had introduced the principle of giving the power of local taxation to the Governor-general. They had not introduced that principle into the bill of last year, and it was only after their experience of an actual stagnation having taken place in the industry of the Canadian community in consequence of the absence of this very power, that they had thought of introducing it. They were quite agreed that this was a power which should only be used with the greatest caution and discretion. But it should be remembered that at the present moment neither a road-bill nor a ferry-bill could be passed in Canada. Not one of those matters in which taxation was necessary for carrying on the common operations of society could now be conducted in Canada. The inconveniences which must arise from such a state of things in any country were so considerable that no Government would do its duty if they allowed it to continue from year to year without providing a remedy. With regard to an observation which had fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesex upon the subject of a petition reflecting on the conduct of Sir J. Colborne and the troops in Canada, he could assure that hon. Member that the Government had no disposition whatever to shrink from the discussion of that subject. Upon the receipt of the petition in question, Government had referred to Sir J. Colborne for an explanation. The answer had but just arrived, and he must say, that nothing more completely satisfactory, as related to the conduct both of Sir J. Colborne and of the British troops, could possibly have been communicated to the Government. If the hon. Member felt any desire to have those despatches submitted to the House, and to have a discussion taken upon them, he felt it due to Sir J. Colborne to say that they would by no means shrink from such discussion. He would not enter into the question of Canada now, and the clauses of the bill could best be considered in committee. He would observe, however, that although he had listened with attention to what had fallen upon this subject from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, both now and on former occasions, the right hon. Gentleman had not convinced him that it would not have been very material towards the settlement of this question, had they taken previously, upon the second reading of the Canada Bill, a discussion upon the essential principle of that measure—namely, the principle of uniting the provinces, establishing municipal corporations in them, and in all respects providing for an equitable arrangement between Upper and Lower Canada. Had that bill gone out to the Canadas with the sanction of the British House of Commons, he believed that great progress would have been made towards the settlement of this question. From all that he had witnessed of the feeling of the people themselves, he believed that a great majority of them were prepared to assent to the principle of union. He had communicated with many persons connected with both the Canadas, and he was sincerely of opinion that this measure would be received there as a groundwork for the settlement of the great question at issue.
did not shrink from the responsibility which the right hon. Gentleman had imposed on him with regard to preventing the House from coming to a decision upon the second reading of the Canada Bill. On the contrary, he should rather say he rejoiced that the House did not come to a precipitate decision; Despatches had been received since that period from the Governor-general, which would have rendered such decision both immature and unwise.
Bill read a second time.
The House in Committee on the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill.
On clause C, section 20, being proposed,
said, that seeing the late period of the Session at which this bill was brought forward, and considering that many Irish Members had left town in the hope (which he confessed he did not think a very unreasonable one) that the Government would not proceed with this bill during the present Session, he must say that he could not approve of its being now brought on. As it was, however, he felt bound, under all the circumstances, to apply himself strictly to the clause under the consideration of the Committee. It related to the amount of the franchise, and he could not easily overrate its importance. It might be well to state shortly to the Committee what it was that the bill proposed in the way of qualification, to which he (Mr. Shaw) objected, and what qualification he proposed to substitute, by way of amendment. If the Committee would indulge him for a few moments on a very dry subject, he would endeavour to express himself as briefly as he could. The qualification proposed by the bill was twofold. First, the bill proposed, that for the ensuing three years the qualification should be a tenement valued for the purpose of being rated at the net annual value of 8l. It proposed, that the parties qualifying for the franchise should be six months' occupiers—in other words, that they should be six months resident as inhabitant householders; and it proposed, that they should be allowed to be only six months in arrear of their taxes up to the time of going to the poll. The second qualification was the occupancy of premises of no matter what value, provided they were rated for the relief of the poor for a period of between two and three years, that they were resident as inhabitant householders of the same period, and that they paid their taxes up to within six months of the time of going to the poll. He (Mr. Shaw) objected to the franchise contained in the bill, and proposed to substitute a 10l. franchise composed of the net annual value to which the tenement shall be rated under the Poor-law, and of the amount of the sums at which the repairs and landlord's insurance should be estimated. He proposed a twelvemonths' occupancy and a six months' residence as an inhabitant householder; and an arrear of only three months in the payment of taxes. He would deal first with the latter of the Government's two propositions. The gist of that proposition was, after the expiration of a certain time, to give what was termed, and what was in effect the English franchise, to Irish municipal voters. He was quite aware that this franchise—a franchise founded simply on the principle of being rated—was now fully in operation in England. But he did not think that it could be applied with safety, or would it be at all satisfactory, in Ireland. For the present, however, he should content himself with observing, that it had this vice, in common with almost all the Government measures of the present Session—that it would not come into operation until the year 1842. When they should have acquired a two years' experience of the working of the Poor-law Act in Ireland, and as to the persons who would be rate-payers under the bill, then they might apply themselves to the consideration of the question, whether they would make this rate the ground-work of the franchise. From some of the elections of guardians under the Poor-law Act which had already taken place in Ireland, be was not inclined to form any very sanguine expectations, that the persons who would be elected under such a system were likely to become useful officers for the administration of parochial affairs, independently of party and of all other considerations. While this was his strong individual opinion, he at the same time admitted, that it would be quite competent to them to entertain that proposition in three years' time, but certainly not sooner. With respect to the franchise which was proposed for the ensuing three years, he was anxious to clear the ground of all extraneous matter, and come at once to the real point at issue. He would not now apply himself to the consideration of whether twelve months or six months should be the period of occupation, or whether six months or three months should be the arrear of taxes. He apprehended that hon. Gentlemen opposite would not insist on these, provided they could agree as to the amount of the franchise which was the chief point at issue. What he proposed was a 10l. franchise, and that "such value should be a sum composed of the net annual value at which the premises so occupied shall be rated (as they are required to be) to the relief of the poor, and of the amount of the sums at which the landlord's repairs and the landlord's insurance shall be estimated in any such rate." He assumed, that what was desired to be obtained was a real bonâ fide 10l. qualification, and the question appeared simply to be this—whether this would be the best obtained by adopting the 8l. qualification proposed by her Majesty's Government, or by adopting a 10l. qualification, composed in such manner as was provided by the amendment which he (Mr. Shaw) was about to submit to the consideration of the House? At the end of one of the last angry disputes respecting Irish affairs, those who had sat on that side of the House had consented to a 10l. franchise. It had been urged, that it was a franchise thoroughly understood, as having been adopted both in England and Ireland in the election of Members of Parliament; and it had been moreover said, that a municipal franchise ought not to be higher than a Parliamentary franchise. Now arguments against the latter of these propositions might have been found in the circumstances, that the persons to be elected would have the power of expending the money of the boroughs by the raising of borough rates, while they would be comparatively removed from public observation, and would probably belong entirely to one party. A 10l. franchise had, however, been consented to, but upon the express understanding that it was to be a bonâ fide franchise. It was especially desirable in an institution which like the present was to be established for the first time, that the bill should state upon its face what the amount of franchise was really intended to be. For this reason, and because he did not think, that the 8l. qualification fixed by the bill, when increased by the amount of landlords' repairs and insurance, would substantially afford a 10l. qualification, he thought it his duty to propose the amendment of which he had given notice. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving, that the words of clause C, section 20, from the word "that" to the word "provided" should be omitted, and that the following words should be inserted in their stead: "And be it enacted, that after this Act shall have come into operation in any borough named in the said schedule (A), every man of full age, who on the last day of August in any year shall be an inhabitant householder, and shall for six calendar months previous thereto have been resident as such within such borough, or within seven statute miles of such borough, and who shall occupy within such borough any house, warehouse, counting-house, or shop, which either separately or jointly with any land within such borough occupied therewith by him as tenant, or occupied therewith by him as owner, shall be of the yearly value of not less than 10l., to be ascertained and determined as hereinafter mentioned, shall, if duly enrolled according to the provisions hereinafter contained, be a burgess of such borough, and a member of the body corporate of the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of such borough, and such yearly value shall be ascertained and determined in manner following, and not otherwise—that is to say, such value shall be a sum composed of the net annual value at which the premises so occupied by such man shall be rated (as they are hereby required to be) to the relief of the poor under an Act passed in the last Session of Parliament, entitled 'An Act for the more effectual relief of the destitute poor in Ireland,' and of the amount of the sums at which the landlord's repairs and the landlord's insurance shall be estimated and stated in any rate to be made in pursuance of the said Act; provided always, that no such occupier shall be admitted to be enrolled under this act unless he shall have occupied such premises within said borough, or other premises of the like nature within the said borough, and rated as aforesaid, for the space of twelve calendar months at the least next preceding such last day of August, nor unless such occupier shall, on or before the last day of August in such year, have paid or discharged all rates for the relief of the poor, and all municipal or other local cesses, and all rates and taxes which shall have become payable by him in respect of such premises, except such as shall have been imposed or become payable within three calendar months next before such last day of August."
said, the Government intended to adhere to the plan of adopting an 8l. franchise for three years, and of introducing, at the end of that period, a franchise similar to that existing in England. In all the preceding discussions upon this subject it had been stated by the friends of what was called, and he hoped properly called, a liberal policy in Ireland, that it was very desirable to assimilate the institutions of that country to those of England, but above all things, they protested against the adoption of a different and more restricted franchise in Ireland than that which was enjoyed in England. However, as it was said that on account of there being no legal rate to refer to in Ireland corresponding to the poor-rate in this country, the adoption of the English franchise would give rise to loose statements and inaccurate calculations, and open a door to innumerable frauds and perjuries, the Government had consented to adopt a settled rate. In fixing this rate, they had taken into consideration the circumstance, that the tendency of every system of rating was to produce a return lower than the actual value of the property rated, and that greater accuracy of calculation would be produced by the Poor-law valuations; and with reference to these circumstances, it had not been considered expedient to screw up the franchise to the same amount as had been proposed in the absence of the same means of obtaining proper valuations, especially when it was considered that no deduction from the required amount of an 8l. franchise was to be made in respect of landlord's repairs or insurance. In order to show the number of voters which would be afforded by different rates of franchise, he would refer to some towns comprised in schedule A of the bill. Clonmel contained 15,000 inhabitants and 1,867 houses; the number of houses of the yearly value of 10l. and upwards was 683, or not much more than one-third of the whole number. In Drogheda there were 17,000 inhabitants and 3,371 houses, of which, in 1833, 261 only were of the annual value of 10l. and upwards. The number of inhabitants in Londonderry was 19,000; out of the 3,074 houses which it contained, 408 were of the annual value of 10l. and upwards, and only 735 of the annual value of 5l. and upwards. Sligo contained 2,666 houses, of which 411 were of the annual value of 10l. and upwards, and 874 of the annual value of 5l. and upwards. So that it appeared, even a 5l. franchise would not give an inconveniently large number of persons to exercise municipal privileges. He was, however, anxious, as soon as it was practicable, to assimilate the franchises in England and Ireland, because he was convinced that such a course would tend to remove the heart-burnings between the countries, and he confessed, that he anticipated that both in England and Ireland, when the inhabitants of boroughs had to select persons who should have the disposal of their money, they would lose sight of religious and political differences and animosities. This had taken place to a great extent already, as he (Lord Morpeth) had it in his power to show, and he confidently expected that the electors in municipal corporations would soon only look to the character, experience, and abilities of the persons whom they selected to regulate their common interests.
said, that as he understood the clause of the bill, at the end of three years the franchise would be conferred on every householder rated for the poor-rates. That being the case, persons would have a right to vote who did not contribute to the borough fund. If the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, should carry his amendment, he should feel it his duty to propose upon that amendment a 10l. rated value. His objection to the franchise, as it was to be at the end of three years was, that it was not the English franchise. In England the borough-rate and the poor-rate were levied off the same persons, and, small as might be the part paid as the borough-rate, the persons paying it might be said to have a right to vote. In Ireland they were not to be levied off the same persons. The borough-rate was levied off persons having houses of 5l. value and upwards, and, by the Act of last Session, the poor-rate was to be levied off every house; from which circumstance arose the difference between the two countries. Now, the noble Lord had told them that in Londonderry, the town which he had the honour to represent, the number of houses was 3,074, and that of those there were but 735 of the value of 5l. and upwards. According to that statement they were to have at the end of three years, in addition to 735 persons who paid the borough-rate, 2,300 voters for the election of persons to dispense that borough-rate. He was sure the noble Lord could not intend to propose anything so unfair as that.
said, he entered into the objection made by the hon. Gentleman to the bill as it at present stood. He apprehended it to be that persons would have a right to vote who would not be rated for the borough rate, and he was prepared to alter the clause, so as to meet that objection.
had last year taken a part in this measure with reluctance, because he had differed from those with whom he usually acted. He then regretted that what appeared to him to have been so favourable an opportunity for the settlement of this great question should have been allowed to escape, and he was sorry to say, that that feeling of regret had been much increased by what had since taken place. Not many days ago a volume had been put into his hand, containing speeches delivered at a meeting in Dublin during the spring of the present year, which he had read with feelings of sorrow and surprise. The spirit which was manifested in the language and sentiments of those speeches was such as, in his opinion, was likely to create a corresponding feeling of bitterness in the minds of the people of Ireland. Some of those speeches were delivered by Protestant clergymen, who openly declared their determination not to admit their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen to the enjoyment of civil rights; that having gained the ascendancy, they were resolved to keep it. They stated that Roman Catholics were idolators, worshippers of Baal, and followers of anti-Christ, and they asked what right the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, being an idolator, had to demand to be placed upon an equality with them as Christians. These were sentiments which could not be too severely deprecated. Those persons went the length of saying, that if a Roman Catholic Lord Mayor were placed at the head of the municipality, the time would have arrived when the Protestants of Ireland must be ready, like the covenanters of Scotland, to appear with swords in their hands and hallelujahs on their lips. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the University of Dublin, had come in for a full share of the censure of those Gentlemen, who had even menaced him with the loss of his seat in that House, which he on the other hand hoped he would long continue to fill with his accustomed usefulness and ability. He sincerely regretted that the deliberations of the meeting to which he had referred had not been marked with that moderation and good sense which became the station of those of whom it was composed. They objected even to the principle of this bill, which had already been affirmed by that House, They declared that the exclusive character of the Irish corporations must be retained, and that whether the franchise was a 20l., or 30l., or a 50l. franchise, they were all equally inadmissible. It therefore appeared to him that they would gain nothing by the minute difference which was raised by the right hon. Gentleman's amendment. He believed he had the authority of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Somersetshire for saying, that the usual deductions made by the valuers in England averaged from 7 to 14 per cent. Well, if they called it 10 per cent., it followed that the difference between the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman and that of the noble Lord opposite amounted to only 1l. upon the qualification; or in other words that the noble Lord proposed a qualification of 8l., and the right hon. Gentleman in his amendment one of 9l. He thought it scarcely worth while to squabble about a point of so trifling a character. He did not know if these corporations would become, under this bill, normal schools of agitation; but it was quite clear that if they did, the amendment of the right hon. Gentleman would not prevent that result. After the best consideration he could bestow upon the subject, he had come to the conclusion of supporting the bill in its present shape. He felt it right, however, to add, that as the qualification it proposed appeared to him upon the whole the least objectionable that could be devised, he should not feel inclined to change it at the expiration of three years. The Irish people, he conceived, would have no right to complain, if placed at least upon as good a footing as the people of Scotland.
had heard the speech of the noble Lord who had just sat down with considerable regret. He had ventured to hope that the details of this measure would have been discussed without reference to topics which were calculated to excite angry feelings in the House or divert the attention of hon. Members from the more immediate and important points under consideration. He did not know what meeting the noble Lord referred to, he believed he must be correct in saying, that no Member of that House had taken a part in it; no reference had been made to it by his right hon. Friend, it had nothing to do with his right hon. Friend's amendment, and he really thought it would have been infinitely better if the noble Lord had abstained altogether from noticing it. The noble Lord had been greatly cheered by the noble Lord and hon. Members opposite, because he was of opinion that the difference between the two propositions was of a very trifling character. If so, he thought her Majesty's Government could not do better than give up the point in dispute. It either was or was not a trifling point. The noble Lord who last addressed the House so considered it, and hon. Members opposite appeared by their cheers to agree with them. Would those hon. Members refuse to concede that trifling point in order to secure the settlement of this question, great as it was called—a question by which Ireland was to be tranquillized and agitation put an end to? Surely it would be unworthy of the professions-of her Majesty's Ministers, and of hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they were to keep that country in a state of turmoil and discontent, by withholding this bill upon a mere trifling point of difference. He certainly thought it was desirable to have the question settled. The spirit which had been manifested by the noble Lord opposite had been met by hon. Gentlemen on his ('Mr. Jackson's) side of the House. Hon. Members on his side of the House were of opinion, that it would be far better for the peace and tranquillity of Ireland, that there should no longer be corporations in that country. They had thought that by reconstructing them they would only be legalizing establishments for the purposes of agitation and speech-making; and, notwithstanding that, their opinion, having been assured that a very strong feeling prevailed in favour of corporations throughout the country, and that if the existing ones were not reconstructed a still stronger feeling would be created in the shape of discontent, they abandoned their own opinion and consented to their reconstruction. That having been done, his right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth had declared that he would require a 10l. qualification; that more he would not ask but that less than a 10l.bonâ fide qualification he would not consent to. Now, he had thought that her Majesty's Government were agreed with them on that point, and their not being so now left them open to the charge of inconsistency, because they said, that this 8l. qualification was to have been proposed as equivalent to 10l. In bringing it forward, therefore, as an 8l. qualification, and not a 10l., her Majesty's Ministers were acting with great inconsistency. They had offered to the House a 10l. qualification, but when he (Mr. Jackson) and those acting with him proposed to make that a bonâ fide qualification by rating, they were told that the effect of their proposal would be to make it a 12l. or 15l. qualification. Now they were told they were not to have a 10l., but an 8l. qualification. Surely it would appear from this, that all the concession had been upon their side, and none on the part of hon. Members opposite. He himself had given much dissatisfaction to persons in Ireland whose good opinion he was very desirous of retaining—hehadeven given offence to many constituencies, and amongst the rest to his own, by the concession he had already made in offering to agree to a 10l. franchise. The House would recollect, that he, and those with whom he was in the habit of acting, had voted for the second reading of the present measure at the hazard of losing the confidence of many amongst their constituents; their having done that, however, did by no means pledge them to supporting every one of the details of the bill.
, in explanation, begged to say that he did not mean to convey any idea that he thought it a trifle to give satisfaction to the people of Ireland. With respect to what he had said of the speeches published in the pamphlet, he had only to observe, that no one could be more willing than he had ever been to make allowance for an inconsiderate expression escaping from any one during the heat and excitement of a public meeting; but it was not on speeches of that description that he had been animadverting, it was upon reports of speeches revised and dispassionately correctly, and advisedly published.
said: Sir, I do not intend to protract this debate, because I know that such a course would only lead to a result which, for my own part, I am most anxious to avoid. This, I am aware, is a most unfavourable moment for us to take a division, but still, recollecting the general feeling of the House on the subject in the last Session, I do not mean to protract the debate on that account. Indeed, I feel I could not do so without the risk of introducing topics which are not only irrelevant, but which I am most anxious to avoid; and therefore it is, that I am content to risk a division, which I see must be unfavourable to me, rather than give rise to a discussion such as I have adverted to. My impression, however, was, Sir, that the Government did not mean to persevere with this measure during the present Session, and I was led to entertain this impression from the circumstance of its having been announced in the spring that there were three subjects of immense importance to which the attention of the House was to be called— one relative to improvements in the civil and criminal laws, the other to Canada, and the third to the municipal corporations of Ireland. Now, with respect to the improvements in the civil and criminal laws we have heard nothing; and as all legislation with regard to a constitution for Canada has been deferred to a future period, I naturally thought that the Irish Municipal Corporations Bill would follow the fate of its brethren—and that the Government did not intend to press it forward at this advanced period of the Session. That, Sir, was my impression until I heard it announced the other night that we were to be called upon to proceed with the Irish Corporations Bill. My noble Friend has called the question under the consideration of the Committee a trifle, and I can only say, that if I were wrong I would at once concede it; but, feeling that I am right, I am bound at all events to record my opinion by the vote which I shall give on the division in favour of the proposition of my right hon. and learned Friend, and against the proposition of the noble Lord. With respect to the speeches which have been alluded to by my noble Friend, I feel confident that no one comes in for more condemnation in those speeches than I do myself for the course which I have taken in reference to this bill. Sir, my noble Friend says, that no concession we could make would conciliate those parties; but I can only assure him, that I desire to make no concession to any party—that all I wish to do on this and all other occasions, is what is right. Sir, since I stated my desire to bring about a settlement of this long-agitated question, I have done everything in my power to induce my friends to waive the strong feelings which they entertained upon the subject; but I at the same time, did state to them the ground which I thought would lead to that settlement, and that was, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ban-don has truly stated, that there should be a bonâ fide franchise of ten pounds. If the Government wish to conciliate and satisfy both parties, it is important that they should give up the present trifling difference between them. When the question was the second reading of this bill, I opposed the views of several of my own Friends on this side of the House, by giving the Government my assistance in carrying that motion; and even now, if I thought the noble Lord right and myself wrong, I would consent to his present proposition; but as I know that I am right and the noble Lord is wrong, I am bound to fulfil the promise on which the assistance by which the motion for the second reading has been gained, was given. I cannot, therefore, shrink from the necessity of a division, although I have no wish to protract the debate to a late hour, when those Friends who would support me will be here. Sir, I shall merely state that, as we have deferred providing for the constitution of Canada until a future period, on the same grounds I object to our now deferring what the Irish municipal corporation franchise should be in 1842. Let the noble Lord clearly understand that I hold out to him no hope; for I will make no rash promises of assisting him in his proposition until I see how the Irish Poor-laws work. I will come to no conclusion, but, on the contrary, I will hold myself unfettered to pursue hereafter any course which I may deem expedient. What I object to now is, affirming the principle as to what the franchise in the corporate towns of Ireland shall be at a future period. Now, with respect to the amount of the franchise. What I proposed last year, was a 10l. franchise, subject to the landlord's rates and insurance. This afforded an opportunity for much popular argument and abuse, but it was obvious that the amount of the deductions must vary in different places. In England, they vary from 7l. to 14l. per cent., and in some places, from 5l. to 18l. or 20l. per cent., according as the tenement is composed of land or houses. There must be a difference in the deductions under such circumstances, and it is on these grounds that I intended the 10l., which I proposed should be subject to those deductions. This I proposed in conformity with my own convictions, and in fulfilment of the assurance which I gave to those friends whom I induced to waive their opposition to the measure; and for that reason I now feel it to be my duty to adhere to the 10l. franchise. No arguments that I have heard have convinced me that I ought to forego this proposition, and my only regret now is, that the subject had not been brought under discussion at an earlier period of the Session, when the sense of the House could have been better taken upon it than now.
The House divided on the original ques- tion:—Ayes 104; Noes 54: Majority 50
List of the AYES.
|Aglionby, H. A.||O'Connell, M.J.|
|Alston, R.||O'Connell, Morgan|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Ord, W.|
|Archbold, R.||Oswald, J.|
|Baines, E.||Paget, F.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Palmerston, Ld. Visct.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Parker, J.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Parrott, J.|
|Bewes, T.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Blake, M. J.||Pigott, D. R.|
|Blake, W. J.||Power, J.|
|Bridgman, H.||Price, Sir R.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Pusey, P.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Redington, T. N.|
|Brotherton, J.||Rice, right hon. T. S.|
|Browne, R. D.||Roche, E. B.|
|Buller, C.||Roche, W.|
|Busfield, W.||Rundle, J.|
|Butler, hon. Colonel||Russell, Lord J.|
|Cave, R. O.||Russell, Lord|
|Chalmers, P.||Russell, Lord C.|
|Clive, E. B.||Salwey, Colonel|
|Coote, Sir C. H.||Scholefield, J.|
|Craig, W. G.||Seale, Sir J. H.|
|Curry, Mr. Sergeant||Seymour, Lord|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Smith, B.|
|Davies, Colonel||Smith, R. V.|
|Denison, W. J.||Somers, J. P.|
|Eliot, Lord||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Stanley, hon. E. J.|
|Fielden, John||Stuart Lord J.|
|Fenton, J.||Stuart, W.V.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Stock, Dr.|
|Finch, F.||Strutt, Edw.|
|Fitzpatrick, J. W.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Fleetwood, Sir P. H.||Thornley, T.|
|Gordon, R.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Turner, E.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Wakley, T.|
|Hoskins, K.||Wallace, R.|
|Hutton, Robert||Warburton, H.|
|James, W.||Ward, H. G.|
|Macleod, R.||White, A.|
|M'Taggart, J.||Williams, W. A.|
|Marshall, W.||Wilshere, W.|
|Melgund, Lord Visct.||Winnington, H. J.|
|Morpeth, Lord Visct.||Wood, C.|
|Morris, D.||Wyse, T.|
|Muskett, G. A.||Yates, J.A.|
|Nagle, Sir R.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|O'Brien, W. S.||O'Ferrall, M.|
|O'Connell, Dan.||Steuart, R.|
List of the NOES.
|A'Court, Captain||Burroughes, H. N.|
|Archdall, M.||Chapman, A.|
|Ashley, Lord||Chute, W. L. W.|
|Ballie, Colonel||Clerk, Sir G.|
|Blennerhassett, A.||Clive, hon. R. H.|
|Buller, Sir J, Y.||Corry, hon. H.|
|Courtenay, P.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Darby, G.||Lockhart, A.M.|
|Dunbar, G.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Eastnor, Lord Visct.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Eaton, R. J.||Miles, W.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Parker, M.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Peel, right hon. Sir R.|
|Estcourt, T.||Peel, J.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Perceval, Colonel|
|Fremantle, Sir T.||Perceval, hon. G. J.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Praed, W. T.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Round, C. G.|
|Hale, R. B.||Round, J.|
|Halford, H.||Stanley, Lord|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Teignmouth Lord|
|Hogg, J. W.||Tennent, J. E.|
|Holmes, hon. W.A'C.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Hope, H. T.||Vernon, G. H.|
|Hotham, Lord||Villiers, Lord Visct.|
|Hughes, W. B.|
|Jones, Captain||Jackson, Mr. Sergeant|
|Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.||Shaw, right hon. F.|
moved the omission of the 22d clause, settling the qualification at the end of three years.
The Committee, after a short discussion, agreed to this suggestion, and divided on the question, that it should form part of the bill:—Ayes 96; Noes 50:—Majority, 46.
List of the AYES.
|Aglionby, H. A.||Heathcoat, J.|
|Alcock, T.||Hector, C. J.|
|Alston, R.||Hobhouse, rt. h. Sir J.|
|Archbold, R.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Bannerman, A.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Hoskins, K.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Howick, Lord Vis.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Hutton, R.|
|Bewes, T.||Lister, E. C.|
|Blake, M. J.||Lushington, C.|
|Blake, W. J.||Macleod, R.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Marshall, W.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Mildmay, P. St. John|
|Browne, R. D.||Morpeth, Lord Vis.|
|Bryan, G.||Morris, D.|
|Busfeild, W.||Muskett, G. A.|
|Callaghan, D.||Nagle, Sir R.|
|Cave, R. O.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Chalmers, P.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Clive, E. B.||O'Connell, D.|
|Collins, W.||O'Connell, J.|
|Curry, Mr. Sergeant||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||O'Connell, M.|
|Dashwood, G. H.||Ord, W.|
|Davies, Colonel||Palmer, C. F.|
|Denison, W. J.||Parker, J.|
|Easthope, J.||Parnell, rt. h. Sir H.|
|Evans, G.||Parrott, J.|
|Fenton, J.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Finch, F.||Pigot, D. R.|
|Fitzpatrick, J. W.||Price, Sir R.|
|Fleetwood, Sir P. H.||Redington, T. N.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Roche, E. B.|
|Rundle, J.||Thornely, T.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Russell, Lord C.||Turner, E.|
|Rutherford, rt. h. A.||Turner, W.|
|Salwey, Colonel||Vigors, N. A.|
|Scholefield, J.||Wakley, T.|
|Seale, Sir J. H.||Williams, W.|
|Sheil, R. L.||Williams, W. A.|
|Smith, B.||Wilshere, W.|
|Smith, R. V.||Winnington, H. J.|
|Somers, J. P.||Wood, C.|
|Somerville, Sir W. M.||Wyse, T.|
|Stuart, Lord J.||Yates, J. A.|
|Stuart, W. V.|
|Strutt, E.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Tancred, H. W.||Donkin, Sir R.|
List of the NOES.
|A'Court, Captain||Hotham, Lord|
|Attwood, W.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Baillie, Colonel||Jackson, Mr. Sergeant|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Blennerhassett, A.||Jones, Captain|
|Buck, L. W.||Knatchbull, r. h. Sir E.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Lockhart, A. M.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Lygon, hon. General|
|Coote, Sir C. H.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Courtenay, P.||Monypenny, T. G.|
|Cresswell, C.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Darby, G.||Palmer, G.|
|Dunbar, G.||Perceval, hon. G. J.|
|East, J. B.||Praed, W. T.|
|Eastnor, Lord Vis.||Pusey, P.|
|Eliot, Lord||Round, C. G.|
|Estcourt, T.||Round J.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Teignmouth, Lord|
|Grimsditch, T.||Tennent, J. E.|
|Hale, R. B.||Thomas, Colonel H.|
|Hardinge, rt. h. Sir H.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Hepburn, Sir T.|
|Hogg, J. W.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Holmes, hon. W. A.||Ferguson, Sir R.|
On Clause 71,
proposed to add the following proviso at the end of the clause —" Provided always that nothing in this Act ontained shall be construed to dispense with the obligation of any person to make and subscribe the oath provided and enjoined by an Act made in the 10th year of the reign of his late Majesty King George 4th, entitled ' An Act for the Relief of his Majesty's Roman Catholic Subjects.'" In moving to add this proviso he would only observe that there was nothing new in the oath or in the obligation which it imposed, and that it was merely his intention to leave the law as it stood before.
opposed the motion, He wished the clause to remain as it stood. The moment the oath was taken feuds would inevitably arise. The Protestant was not required to take an oath, and why should an oath be required of the Catholic? If the proviso were added, it would put a firebrand into the Act. It was the policy of the Legislature to require as few oaths as possible; he wished to see the number diminished, and he was happy to find that the Act did not oblige any Protestant to take an oath.
The Committee divided on the question that the proviso be added:—Ayes 112; Noes 157:—Majority 45.
List of the AYES.
|Ackland, T. D.||Hepburn, Sir T. B.|
|A'Court, Captain||Herries, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Alford, Lord Vis.||Hodgson, F.|
|Alsager, Captain||Hodgson, R.|
|Bagge, W.||Hogg, J. W.|
|Bailey J.||Holmes, hon. W. A.|
|Baillie, Colonel||Holmes, W.|
|Baring, H. B.||Hope, G. W.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Hotham, Lord|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Blennerhassett, A.||Hurst, F.|
|Bradshaw, J.||Ingestrie, Lord Vis.|
|Broadley, H.||Irton, S.|
|Brownrigg, S.||Irving, J.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||James, Sir W. C.|
|Buck, L. W.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Burrell, Sir C.||Jones, Captain|
|Calcraft, J. H.||Kemble, Henry|
|Chute, W. L, W.||Knatchbull, rt. h. Sir E.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Cole, Lord Vis.||Knox, hon. T.|
|Compton, H. C.||Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Corry, hon. H.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Courtenay, P.||Liddell, hon. H. T.|
|Cresswell, C.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Darby, G.||Lygon, hon. G.|
|De Horsey, S. H.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Dugdale, W. S.||Meynell, Captain|
|Dunbar, G.||Monypenny, T. G.|
|Duncombe, hon. W.||Nicholl, J.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Dungannon, Lord Vis.||Packe, C. W.|
|East, J. B.||Palmer, G.|
|Eastnor, Lord Vis.||Parker, M.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Eliot, Lord||Perceval, hon. G. J.|
|Estcourt, T.||Pigot, R.|
|Estcourt, T.||Polhill, Frederick|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Pollen, Sir J. W.|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Pollock, Sir F.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Praed, W. T.|
|Graham, it. hn. Sir. J.||Price, R.|
|Greene, T.||Pringle, A.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Richards, R.|
|Grimston, hon. E. H.||Round, C. G.|
|Hale, R. B.||Round, J.|
|Halford, H.||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Sanderson, R.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Scarlett, Hon. J. Y.||Verner, Colonel|
|Sheppard T.||Villiers, Lord Vis.|
|Stanley, E.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Stormont, Lord Vis.||Wood, Colonel T.|
|Tennent, J. E.||Wood, T.|
|Thomas, Colonel, H.|
|Thompson, Mr. Ald.|
|Thornhill, G.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Trench, Sir F.||Jackson, Mr. Sergeant|
List of the NOES.
|Adam, Admiral||Heathcoat, J.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Hector, C. J.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Alcock, T.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Alston, R.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Archbold, R.||Hollond, R.|
|Bannerman, A.||Horsman, E.|
|Baring, F. T.||Hoskins, K.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Howick, Lord Vis.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Hume, J.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Humphery, J.|
|Bewes, T.||Hutton, R.|
|Blackett, C.||James, W.|
|Blake, M. J.||Jervis, S.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Labouchere, rt. hn. H.|
|Brotherton, J.||Lambton, H.|
|Browne, R. D.||Langdale, hon. C.|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Loch, J.|
|Bryan, G.||Macaulay, T. B.|
|Buller, C.||Macleod, R.|
|Busfeild, W.||M'Taggart, J.|
|Byng, rt. hon. G. S.||Marshall, W.|
|Callaghan, D.||Marsland, H.|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Martin, J.|
|Cave, R. O.||Maule, hon. F.|
|Chalmers, P.||Melgund, Lord Vis.|
|Chapman, Sir M. L.C.||Mildmay, P. St. J.|
|Childers, J. W.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Clive, E. B.||Morpeth, Lord Vis.|
|Collins, W.||Morris, D.|
|Craig, W. G.||Nagle, Sir R.|
|Currie, R.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Curry, Mr. Serjeant||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||O'Connell, D.|
|Davies, Colonel||O'Connell, J.|
|Denison, W. J.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Divett, E.||O'Connell, M.|
|Donkin, Sir R. S.||Oswald, J.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Easthope, J.||Palmerston, Lord Vis.|
|Ellice, E.||Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.|
|Evans, G.||Parrott, J.|
|Evans, W.||Pechell, Captain|
|Fenton, J.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Ferguson, Sir R, A.||Philips, G. R.|
|Finch, F.||Pigot, D. R.|
|Fitzpatrick, J. W.||Power, J.|
|Fleetwood, Sir P. H.||Price, Sir R.|
|Gordon, R.||Pryse, P.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Redington, T. N.|
|Guest, Sir J.||Rice, rt. hon. T. S.|
|Handley, H.||Roche, E. B.|
|Hawkins, J. H.||Roche, W.|
|Hayter, W. G.||Rolfe, Sir R. M.|
|Rumbold, C. E.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Rundle, J.||Turner, W.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Russell, Lord C.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Rutherfurd, rt hon A.||Villiers, hon. C. P.|
|Salwey, Colonel||Walker, R.|
|Scholefield, J.||Wallace, R.|
|Scrope, G. P.||Ward, H. G.|
|Seale, Sir J. H.||White, A.|
|Sheil, R. L.||White, H.|
|Slaney, R. A.||Wilbraham,|
|Smith, G. R.||Wilde, Mr. Sergeant|
|Smith, R. V.||Williams, W.|
|Somers, J. P.||Williams, W. A.|
|Somerville, Sir W. M.||Wilshere, W.|
|Stanley, hon. W. O.||Winnington, H. J.|
|Stewart, J.||Wood, C.|
|Stuart, W. V.||Wood, Sir M.|
|Stock, Dr.||Wood, G. W.|
|Strutt, E.||Wyse, T.|
|Style, Sir C.||Yates, J. A.|
|Talfourd, Mr. Sergeant|
|Tancred, H. W.|
|Teignmouth, Lord||O'Ferrall, M.|
|Townley, R. G.||Parker, J.|
Clause agreed to.
Rest of the bill, with the exception of Schedule B postponed, agreed to.
House resumed. Report to be received.
Bills Of Exchange—No 2
On the Order of the Day for the Committee on this bill being read,
objected to going into the subject at that hour. The bill, in his opinion, was too extensive in its operation. It went to an almost total repeal of the usury laws.
said, that the present bill was brought in instead of one which had already passed that House and been sent up to the House of Lords, whence it had been returned with such amendments as would render its passing into a law very inconvenient. For instance, the Lords removed all loans on deposits of goods from the operation of the usury laws. Now, one effect of that would be to repeal the Pawnbrokers' Act, which certainly was not contemplated on the introduction of the bill. There were other amendments by the Lords, to which there was no objection; but instead of agreeing to the amendments of the Lords in the original bill, it was thought better to bring in a new bill, which, while it adopted those amendments, did so without risking the repeal of the Pawnbrokers' Act. He would not make any motion on the bill as returned from the Lords until he should ascertain what would be the fate of this in the other House, If any objection were urged to going into the Committee now, he would not press it.
The House in Committee.
On the first clause,
objected to the operation of the bill being restricted to sums above 10l.
said, the bill as sent from the Lords had repealed the usury laws on contracts with deposits of goods. Here was a case of contract without deposit of goods, to which the bill would not apply. The result would be, that a person who could obtain money on simple contract would derive no benefit from the bill, but the slightest deposit of goods would legalize the contract. There was no practical change in the bill as sent from the Lords but that which made it more reasonable and consistent with law.
wished to propose a proviso to the first clause to this effect, "That nothing herein contained shall extend to produce or stock in the hands of the growers."
the effect of that would be, that a farmer having 100 quarters of grain, and his neighbour 100 bags of cotton, the former would be prevented from raising money on his 100 quarters of grain, while the holder of the cotton would have a monopoly of the money-market. But if they supposed two proprietors of 100 quarters of grain each, one the grower and the other the factor, the latter would be able to raise money on his stock, while the unfortunate farmer's would be useless in that respect. The chief object of this bill was to afford brief aid in raising money for short periods; another was to extend it to long engagements, such as bills of twelve months. He could assure his hon. Friend that if he had the misfortune to carry his amendment, he could not indict a greater blow on the class of persons he wished to serve.
said, his object was to protect the lower class of borrowers.
thought, that the facility of raising money on deposit of stock would be an advantage to the farmer, as it would frequently prevent the sacrifice of his stock at a ruinous loss.
said that the proposition of the hon. Member (Mr. Cayley) would place the farmer in a worse condition than he was before.
said, that the, bill would. be of great advantage to the farmer by enabling him to borrow money for a short period at a high rate of interest it was true, but which he could better afford than he could to raise money by selling his stock at a ruinous loss. The extensive farmers governed the sales of the market, and when they were obliged to sell below the market-price, that lowered the market, and did great injury to all the farmers as well as to themselves. By the facility of borrowing money they would be enabled to get out of their difficulties without sinking the market price.
believed the bill would ultimately do mischief by leading to speculation, though it might afford present aid to individuals; but on the whole he thought it would be far from placing things on a sound footing.
withdrew his amendment. Bill went through the Committee.