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Commons Chamber

Volume 50: debated on Thursday 8 August 1839

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House Of Commons

Thursday, August 8,1839.

MINUTES.] Bills. Read a first time:—Ports of Count ties; Administration of Justice.—Read a second time:—Bank of Ireland; Joint Stock Banking Companies.

Petitions presented. By Mr. Fielden, from Futtenham, and several other places, against the New Poor-law.—By Mr. T. Dumcombe, from St. Andrew's, Holborn, against the Collection of Rates Bill.—By Captain T. Wood, from Uxbridge, for the Suppression of Dog Carts.—By Mr. O'Connell, from Clara, and Tuam, against the Bank of Ireland Charter.—By Lord J. Russell, from the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, for Legislative Enactments to regulate Admission into the Medical Profession—By Sir R. Inglis, from the Clergy of Durham, against the Church Discipline Bill; from Clergy of Dorchester, against the Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Bill; and from Freshford, against a further Grant to Mayuooth.—By Viscount Morpeth, from Donegal, for an Alteration in the Grand Jury Laws (Ireland); and from the Geological Society of the West Riding of Yorkshire, for the Structure of National Maps on a large scale.

Standing Orders Railroads

, in requesting the attention of the House to the motion of which he had given notice, for a revision of the standing orders requiring a deposit of 10 per cent, on railroads, would only occupy the attention of the House for a very short time. It would be unnecessary for him to say anything on the great advantages which the public had received from railroad communication; they had been generally felt and experienced. On Tuesday he had conducted a prosecution of great importance at the assizes in the town of Warwick, and the same evening, at six o'clock, he was in his place in that House, ready to bring on his motion, if he had not been prevented by the House having been very unfairly counted out by some persons who wanted to get rid of this motion by a side wind. He did not, however, see that he had much cause to regret the course that these persons had thought fit to pursue, because he had now a more numerous attendance, and, therefore, he had reason to expect a more numerous majority than otherwise would have supported him in this question. That question was what amount of deposit should be paid by the promoters before bills of the second class for the promotion of railroads were brought in? It had been most unfairly stated out of doors that his object was to get rid of a deposit altogether. He had no such object in view. He was quite aware of the necessity that some deposit should be made, and was as much opposed to gambling and bubble speculations as any hon. Member in the House. He admitted, therefore, the necessity that a deposit should be made. But the question for consideration was, what should the deposit be? He was aware that a committee of that House had investigated the subject, and, after a very laborious examination, had come to the conclusion, that the deposit should be 10 per cent, on the subscribed capital, before the bill was brought in. On the other hand, the House of Lords had also inquired into the subject, and they had found that 5 per cent, was a sufficient deposit, thug adopting the resolution which he was about to propose totidem verbis. But while a deposit of 10 per cent, was required by the standing orders of that House, that mitigation in the other House of Parliament was wholly unavailable. He considered that state of things extremely inconvenient and objectionable, and that the high amount of deposit required by the standing orders of the House of Commons checked a number of bonâ fide speculations, the completion of which would have proved profitable to those concerned, and highly beneficial to the interests of the public. To remedy those evils, and to introduce a substitute which would give fair facility to bonâ fide undertakings, and act at the same time as a sufficient check on improper speculations, he moved that instead of the deposit of 10 per cent, required to be paid by the standing orders of railway bills, before such bills were introduced, that that deposit should be paid by two equal instalments. The first instalment of 5 per cent, before the bill was brought in, and the second, also of 5 per cent., before the concern was commenced, and that this bill should contain clauses to that effect. As an instance of the injurious effects which resulted from the present rules of the House, he would mention the case of a most important line of railroad now in contemplation from Newcastle to Edinburgh, an undertaking approved of and supported by men of character and substance; but these persons found it was a very serious matter to deposit 10 per cent, on the capital required to carry out the line, which might remain locked up totally useless for a period of two years. The persons who were anxiously concerned in the success of that line of railroad found that the deposit of 10 per cent, acted as a barrier against the progress of that useful measure. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving that the standing orders be read, which, having been done, he then moved the insertion of words to give effect to his motion.

must oppose a motion which at this period of the Session called upon the House to alter a standing order that had been in force for some time, and which had been adopted on the suggestion of a select committee which had minutely investigated the subject with great attention, and who had come to an almost unanimous opinion on the subject. His learned Friend had really brought forward no good grounds to induce the House to agree to his motion. Although his learned Friend had made some vague allusions to useful undertakings having been prevented by the present standing order, yet the only instance he had adduced was that of an intended railroad from Newcastle to Edinburgh. His learned Friend knew better than he could pretend to do of the situation and circumstances of his constituents, but he thought it was rather too much for his learned Friend to come down to that House, and say in effect that the inhabitants of such a city as the metropolis of Scotland were so poor, so miserable, and so badly off, that they were unable to pay up 10 per cent, on the sum required for the construction of an undertaking from which they expected so much benefit; and that for such a reason the standing orders of that House should be repealed. It would have been a better, at least a plainer course for his learned Friend to have asked the House to repeal the standing order in regard to Edinburgh alone. That would have been intelligible. But instead of that, his learned Friend proposed, that for such a reason they should repeal the standing order in regard to all cases. His learned Friend said, that the security of five per cent., to be paid before the bill was brought in, and five per cent, before the work was in operation, would be a sufficient check on gambling speculations. He denied that it would be so; and whoever would read the evidence of the select committee of 1836 and 1837, moved for by the hon. Member for Bridport, would be of the same opinion, and see the mischief which the present standing order had checked. Shares were frequently as low as 20l., and a deposit of 1l. only was required. That was done by attorneys and engineers, who deluded people into their schemes by bringing them into the Stock Exchange, requiring only such small deposits, and thus inducing persons of small means to embark in them with the prospect of sell- ing soon after at a premium. He did not believe that the regulation had stopped the progress of really useful public undertakings. Unless some security were preserved, the public would be exposed to constant annoyance from solicitors and engineers with endless schemes, which would interfere with their properties, and keep the people in constant anxiety and alarm. He really thought that his learned Friend, instead of bringing forward this motion, should have followed the example of his respected predecessor, who gave his casting vote in favour of the resolutions of the committee on this subject.

would support the motion of the learned Attorney-general, the success of which would be of great use to Ireland. It might perhaps be a calumny for the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, to say that the people of Edinburgh were poor, but it was known to him, that the people of Dublin were so. Many important schemes were stopped in Ireland, in consequence of this standing order requiring a deposit of 10 percent. The House had thought fit to refuse to the people of Ireland, a loan to enable them to carry on their railroads; they were thrown on their own means, and so long as the standing orders continued, he saw no prospect of the-being able to make any progress. He thought five per cent., was a very substantial deposit. The argument of the President of the Board of Trade, that the payments might be frittered down to 1l. or 2l., by proving too much, established nothing at all. He trusted the House would consider a deposit of five per cent., before the bill was brought in, and another five per cent, before commencing the undertaking, a sufficient security; and that they would agree to the motion of the Attorney-general.

said, the House had now two years' experience of these standing orders, and the result had been that no new line of railroad had been since brought under the consideration of the House. The Stone and Rugby was not a new line, but the continuation of a line which had received the sanction of the House. When the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, spoke of the small sums which might be paid by each individual, he forgot the large aggregate amount. The capital required for the Newcastle and Edinburgh Railway, was 2,000,000l., and the deposit of 200,000l. would be locked up for years, till the work was completed. He cordially supported the motion, and was exceedingly glad, that it had been brought forward by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and that he had been able to support his own views, and those of his constituents, and at the same time to act in a manner consistent with the duties of his public character.

The committee of 1837 had investigated two cases in particular. In one of these, they found that thirty-three parties had each paid 5s., and subscribed to the amount of 234,000l. In the other case, twenty individuals paid 10s. a-piece, and subscribed for 23,000l. It was to stop such proceedings as these, that the standing order was made. At that time the standing orders required deposits of 2l. 10s. How, then, could they expect to stop these proceedings by merely doubling the deposits? He did not think that the House could do real bonâfide undertakings, greater benefit than maintaining these resolutions, and he should therefore oppose the motion.

said, that if the House agreed to this motion, they would be encouraging in railroads, that system of gambling, which they had put a stop to in lotteries. There would be no prospect of getting the remaining ninety-five per cent. paid up by the promoters of these speculations, if they could get their bill on paying five per cent, deposit. Speculators would bring forward schemes on such terms as would give them a right to gamble, with the intention of getting other persons to take up the concern which they themselves never intended to carry into effect. The interests of the public required that this standing order should not be disturbed.

said, the question was one of great importance to Scotland and Ireland, and he should support the motion of his learned Friend the Attorney-general. The right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, had endeavoured, with great tact, to stir up the pride of Scotland by an allusion to their poverty. The "pride and poverty" of Scotland was proverbial. In this case, however, he would sink the pride, and freely admit the poverty, because, unless the motion were carried, he feared that every intended line of railway in Scotland would be stopped. The motion would fix the deposit 50 per cent, higher than was paid under the old system, and also in addition to that, before a stone of the work could be laid, 50 per cent, additional must be paid up, so that before the land of any proprietor could be taken, the whole sum must be paid for which the House had stipulated.

objected to such a proceeding being taken at this late period of the Session, when three-fourths of the Members had left town. He thought, the present rule had not produced any practical inconvenience, and he should, therefore, vote against the alteration.

said, it appeared to him that, with regard to the general principle, they were all agreed that it was inexpedient to place obstructions in the way of bonâ fideundertakings; and that on the other hand, they should endeavour to check parties from bringing forward improper speculative schemes. The hon. Member for Bridport said, there had been abuses under the old standing orders, when 2l. 10s. was paid, and that these abuses could not be stopped by doubling the deposit. Undoubtedly, he was not prepared to say to demonstration what the precise amount might be,—he could not name the absolute multiple that would produce the desired effect, nor could he at once say that 10 per cent, was the actual thing. But he knew that many persons of the highest respectability, integrity, and substance, were prevented from going on with the line of railroad to which his hon. and learned colleague had alluded, and who would proceed with the execution of the plan if this motion were carried. That was a fact which showed that if the old amount, 2l. 10s., was too low, 10l. was too high, and he should, therefore, vote for the intermediate proposition of his hon. and learned Friend.

said, the whole question here was about one railroad between Edinburgh and Newcastle. It was said that the alteration would benefit Ireland, but the hon. and learned Gentleman would not have brought the measure forward, except in his zeal for the interests of Scotland, and the city of Edinburgh in particular. It was said that the notices had already been given. If so, they would be legislating ex post facto. On general principles, as well as in reference to this particular case, he should oppose the proposition of the Attorney-general.

understood, from what had taken place in the debate, that a contemplated line of railroad from Newcastle to Edinburgh had been retarded by the standing orders, which required a deposit of 10 per cent, before the bill could be introduced to that House, and which could not be paid, owing to the poverty of the people of Scotland. The hon. Member for Honiton admitted, that the poverty of the people of Scotland was so well known and complete, that that was the reason why that railway could not be proceeded with. If that were true, he begged to ask how it was, that a large proportion of the capital embarked in railroads in this country was invested by Scotchmen, and that some of their largest subscribers were inhabitants of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and the other great towns of Scotland? The fact was, that this railroad, if forwarded at present, must be forwarded by gamblers, who would possess no ultimate interest in the concern. The Scotch were a very rich and a very wary people. They did not embark their money without considering the probability of a return; and if they could get other people to make the first investment they would be willing to permit them, knowing, that although the undertaking might not be worth 100 per cent., it might be worth 70 per cent. If the House agreed to this motion, railroads would again fall into the hands of gamblers. A committee would again be called for by the hon. Member for Bridport, and the Attorney-general would find it his duty to prosecute those concerned. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin said he should support the motion, because he thought the present rule prevented the progress of railways in Ireland. He put it to the knowledge and sagacity of his hon. and learned Friend, whether the carrying of the motion would answer his expectations. Persons of capital, in any country, desirous of embarking their money in such undertakings, would look to the practical result, and not be guided by the amount of deposits they might have to make, but by their expectation of an advantageous return. If the concern showed a fair prospect of success, there would be no want of subscribers to provide the necessary capital; and if not, it was not consonant with the character of the House to encourage such schemes; and he was sure it was not for the benefit of the country that they should be proceeded with.

was cognizant of many frauds with respect to lists submitted to the committees of the House; but he had always doubted whether it was necessary to inflict the penalty of 10 per cent, on parties coming to Parliament for railway bills. He held in his hand a list of thirty-four railways in operation, twenty-four of which were at a discount, and if the shares were sold at the market price there would be a loss on them of three millions.

As to the argument that it was too late in the Session, this was the very time for revising the standing orders, that those likely to engage in such projects next Session might know the intention of Parliament, and not be subject to regulations made at the commencement of a Session, and which must necessarily have an ex post facto operation. It could not be said that the orders of the Standing Orders Committee were as irrevocable as the laws of the Medes and Persians, and that they could not be altered on consideration. How had the regulations of the other House of Parliament been impugned, which fixed 5l. as the sum? He did not dispute that when it was fixed at 2l.10s. abuses existed, but the onus lay on those who wished it to be 10l. to prove that necessary; and for that he had heard no argument. Let it be recollected, that he did not object to deposits of 10l.; he only asked that modification which should enable parties to divide this sum into two parts, one to be paid before the bill was introduced, and another before it came into operation. He believed this would be ample security against abuses, and that no interest in the community need be under any apprehension on account of it.

The House divided.—Ayes 45; Noes 62: Majority 17.

List of the Ayes.

Aglionby, H. A.Finch, F.
Barnard, E. G.Hinde, J. H.
Boldero, H. G.Hodges. T. L.
Bramston, T. W.Hodgson, R.
Bridgeman, H.Howard, P. H.
Broadley, H.Hutton, R.
Brotherton, J.Maule, hon. F.
Buller, C.Morpeth, Lord Visct.
Callaghan, D.O'Connell, D.
Cave, R. O.O'Connell, J.
Craig, W. G.O'Connell, M. J.
Dalmeny, LordO'Ferrall, R. M.
D'Israeli, B.Oswald, J.
Divett, E.Paget, F.
Ewart, W.Pechell, Captain

Pryme, G.Stock, Dr.
Rich, H.Thornely, T.
Rutherford, rt. hon. A.Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Scholefield, J.Vigors, N. A.
Shiel, R. L.Wakley, T.
Somerville, Sir W. M.Wilbraham, G.
Stanley, hon. E. J.TELLERS.
Stanley, hon. W. O.The Attorney-General
Steuart, R.Macaulay, T. B.

List of the NOES.

Anson, hon. ColonelLoch, J.
Arbuthnott, hon. H.Lushington, C.
Ashley, LordLushington, rt. hon. S.
Blackburne, I.Lygon, hon. Gen.
Blake, W. J.Mildmay, P. St. J.
Bowes, J.Palmer, G.
Burroughes, H. N.Parker, J.
Chetwynd, MajorParker, R. T.
Chute, W. L. W.Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.
Cochrane, Sir T. J.Philips, M.
Cowper, hon. W. F.Powell, Colonel
Darby, G.Redington, T. N.
Donkin, Sir R. S.Rice, right hon. T. S.
Douglas, Sir C. E.Round, J.
Duncombe, T.Rushbrooke, Colonel
Easthope, J.Russell, Lord J.
Estcourt, T.Seymour, Lord
Fielden, J.Smith, R. V.
Forester, hon. G.Somerset, Lord G.
Gordon, hon. Capt.Surrey, Earl of
Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.Thomson, rt hon. C. P.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir. G.Trevor, hon. G. R.
Grimsditch, T.Vere, Sir C. B.
Hamilton, C. J. B.Williams, W.
Hector, C. J.Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Henniker, LordWood, C.
Hill, Lord A. M. C.Wood, G. W.
Hodgson, F.Wood, Colonel T.
Hope, hon. C.Wrightson, W. B.
Hoskins, K.
Howick, Lord Visct.TELLERS.
Inglis, Sir R. H.Freshfield, J. W.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H.Warburton, H.

Continuance Of The Poor-Law Commission

The Report on the Poor-Law Commission Continuance Bill was brought up, and agreed to.

rose to move again the clause which he had proposed last week in the Committee. He trusted the House would pardon him for a few moments, while he called their attention to the circumstances under which this clause was now proposed. A clause that the guardian should have power to give relief in certain cases, was carried by a considerable majority. He had then intended to introduce the clause which he now proposed, but the noble Lord stated, that if that clause was carried he would probably abandon his bill; yet he admitted, that as the instruction had been carried by a majority, he did think some alteration should be made in the bill. On the noble Lord proposing a clause, the hon. Member for Buckingham moved an amendment to it, thinking it was too large, which amendment was carried; but the hon. Member for Buckingham afterwards joined with the noble Lord, and threw out the clause altogether. There was great confusion in the House at the time, and it was not until some hon. Members had left the House that he was aware he had been made a teller with the hon. Member for Buckingham, otherwise he should have voted against him. However, he had this admission, that with respect to labourers married before the passing of the Poor-law Amendment Act, great hardship existed; and the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, admitted, that if the Poor-law Bill was intended to be carried out, according to those orders which prevented any relief except by taking the whole family into the workhouse, it was impossible it could work. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tarn worth, had stated that the whole question had better remain over, and be considered at a future time; but that with regard to labourers married before the passing of the Act, one objection to giving them relief in the manner proposed was, that so much time had elapsed since the Act passed. But that was the very reason which urged him to bring forward the subject at this time, because that argument would apply with double force if the bill were to continue for two years more without any alteration. On this subject he would refer to the evidence of Dr. Kay, whose authority the noble Lord would be inclined to admit. Dr. Kay stated, that, as workhouse schools were now conducted, there existed considerable difficulty in imparting to the children the elements of sound secular or religious knowledge, which might, however, be overcome by a different system of management. Dr. Kay said, in his evidence, that imprudent marriages had decreased in those districts in which this law had been brought into operation, and the noble Lord objected to his clause, that, in his opinion, it would be likely to lead to a return to the old system. He did not think the noble Lord had any right to make such an objection to his clause, because it would not encourage imprudent marriages, but only went to remove that which the noble Lord himself had admitted to be a hardship. This clause would render it necessary that inquiries should be instituted as to the time when the parties were married; this would necessarily lead to other inquiries, so that no relief would be administered without a previous inquiry into the circumstances of the family. Having had the admission of the noble Lord that the law, as it now stood in this respect, inflicted a hardship, and having heard the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, admit that if this part of the law had been fully acted on in his part of the country, it would have been impracticable, he was at a loss to understand the grounds upon which his clause was opposed. The principle of the Act was to prevent persons entering into imprudent marriages, and there was nothing in the clause which he proposed, to contravene that principle. If this clause should be negatived, he supposed the noble and learned Lord would introduce his own clause, as he had admitted, that, after the decision the House bad come to on this subject, something ought to be done. If the clause should be carried, the noble Lord might, perhaps, propose to put off the bill to another Session. To this he should not object, but he trusted that it would be carried. He bad never made any use of this question for the purposes of agitation; on the contrary, he had always warned the working classes against such proceedings; but he thought this clause was likely to do good, by showing that the House was willing to attend to what the noble Lord himself had admitted to be a hardship. The hon. Member concluded by moving a clause to enable the guardians of the poor to give relief to widows and able-bodied men, having families, out of the workhouse, who were married before the passing of the 4 & 5 Will. 4, cap. 76.

, in seconding the motion, said, he considered the withdrawal of all power to grant relief unless it was accompanied by the confinement of a whole family in the workhouse, pressed with peculiar hardship upon those able-bodied labourers who had large families in consequence of marriage previous to the passing of the Poor-law Amendment Act. It had been said, that if the motion of the hon. Member for East Sussex was carried, it would bear hard upon those who had married only a short time after the new Poor-law came into operation. Grantee that it might do so, it might appear to bear hard upon such persons, but it would be in appearance only, for in reality one man's family would not be worse off because his neighbour was not placed in an equally miserable condition. Moreover, the bill they were now enacting was only a temporary measure, and the provisions of it would have passed away before it was possible that a man who had married since the Poor-law Act passed should have a very large family. He had always understood that one object of the Poor-law Act was to prevent improvident marriages, and such had certainly been the effect of it. In the evidence of Dr. Kay, as quoted by his hon. Friend behind him, it was shown that in a certain number of parishes, from which Dr. Kay had been able to procure a correct return, the marriages had decreased immediately upon the Act coming into operation, whereas the number had been increasing the two previous years. He did not think the lower orders were so dull of comprehension in matters that affected their own interest as might sometimes be imagined. He was well aware of the many defects that had crept into the administration of the old law, and he was far from advocating anything like a, return to the old system; but he thought it was harsh to visit the sins of the system upon the heads of the unoffending victims to it, and to starve the unfortunate offspring of an improvident marriage because the parent could not bring himself to submit to the degradation of being incarcerated in a workhouse, and to suffer punishment differing but little from that inflicted upon persons convicted of crime. The motion did not call for any compulsory provisions, but simply for a discretionary power to afford relief in certain cases where the new Poor-law Act, to all intents and purposes, was an ex-post facto law. He did not wish to speak harshly or disrespectfully of the Poor-law Commissioners, but he did think that boards of guardians would exercise a sound discretion in this matter, a discretion as sound at all events as that which dictated the sending ten or a dozen peremptory orders from Somerset House to different Unions in the county which he had the honour to represent, whilst this discussion was pending in the House of Commons, some of which orders were received upon the very day that the Hon. Member for East Sussex carried his instruction to that committee in that House. Dr. Kay's evidence before the committee last year had been before alluded to; in answer to question 5060 that gentleman said—

"Generally, I believe that Boards of Guardians administer relief with care, and that discretion may be entrusted to them."
In answer to question 5061, Dr. Kay said—
"The discretion must be entrusted somewhere, and I do not think the discretion can be entrusted anywhere better than to a large body not representing individual interests, but representing general interests, and practically acquainted with the habits and wants of the poorer classes, and which body also comprises persons of great intelligence of the upper classes."
One more question from Dr. Kay's evidence and he had done. In answer to question 4793, Dr. Kay was pleased to allude to the union with which he (Mr. Burroughes) was more immediately connected, and of which he was then chairman, and Dr. Kay called it "one of the best managed unions in the County of Norfolk." Now he thought that Dr. Kay was rather too apt to speak in the superlative degree, and as he had very much exaggerated the meaning of the words which he (Mr. Burroughes) had made me of upon that occasion, he would suppose he meant as well managed as any, rather than "best;" and when he told the House that the peremptory order of the Commissioners had never been acted upon in that union, but that the guardians had always exercised the discretionary power now asked for; he trusted that he had made out a case sufficiently strong to induce the noble Lord to consent—or at all events to induce the House to grant a continuance of that small portion of discretionary power which had hitherto been enjoyed by the union where he acted, and to enable other unions to adopt the same if they should think fit.

trusted he should not be accused of presumption, having so lately had the honour of taking his seat in that House, if he ventured to say a very few words in support of the vote he intended to give in favour of the clause proposed by the hon. Member for East Sussex. His opinions having been recorded in favour of the New Poor-law in the 2nd volume of the Commissioners' report, he was anxious to state why he considered the clause now under consideration an improvement. The noble Lord opposite was aware that he was, and had been ever since the passing of the Act, chairman of one of the most extensive unions in the kingdom. The board consisted of eighteen exofficial, and thirty-eight elected guardians, and be believed he was speaking the opinions of a majority of those gentlemen, who were well qualified from habits of business and residence in the country, to judge of these matters, when he now recorded his own in favour of the amendment. The clause after all, did not go to say that they must give relief out of doors, but only that they might in certain cases, and where they saw the necessity, give that relief directly, which he would venture to say, in nine unions out of ten, had been given indirectly, for the last two years. If he thought, as some hon. Gentlemen did, that the adoption of the clause would annihilate the whole measure, he would not support it, but he was convinced no such result would ensue. He had ever given the Government credit for having brought in and carried out the New Poor-law Bill in good faith, and without any reference to party feeling, or to serve party purposes; but when he admitted this, truth compelled him to add, that in his opinion there were many provisions in the bill, that pressed severely on the humbler classes. The bastardy clause, he thanked Heaven, was at an end—a measure the most unjust and ineffectual that ever was concocted—unjust to the ratepayer, and most unfair towards the fair sex. The clause, too, respecting widows, he by no means approved of, and there were many others that required amendment. On the present occasion he should content himself with supporting the clause more immediately under consideration, and in so doing, he believed that he was acting in accordance with sound policy, justice, and humanity; more particularly when the present state of the country was taken into consideration.

, considering the full discussion which this clause had formerly undergone, would advert as little as possible, to the arguments which had then been urged in its defence, and which had been fully answered. He retained all the objections which he had formerly urged against this clause. He considered it to be at variance with every other clause in the Poor-law Act. It was also a renewal of the worst part of the old system—viz., the allowance system. It would expose the new law to universal relaxation, and would, in that respect alone, be productive of the most pernicious consequences. It would create great dissatisfaction among the labourers, as it would divide them into two distinct classes, one of which would be entitled to relief out of the workhouse, and the other not, and that, too, without the slightest reference either to the goodness or the worthlessness of their character. It would also induce the employers of labour to engage those who were entitled to workhouse relief, in preference to those who were not—and for this reason, that they might employ the one at 10s. a-week, and send him to the parish for 4s. more, whilst they would not be able to get the other, without paying him the full amount of wages. By the cogency of such arguments, and by the want of uniformity thus created in the system of Poor-laws, the House would be compelled to break down by degrees all the efficiency of the present law. With regard to widows, a return recently laid on the Table distinctly proved that there was no necessity for such an enactment as that now proposed by the hon. Member for East Sussex. With respect to able-bodied labourers, he found, upon communication with the Poor-law Commissioners, that they had no objection to relax their peremptory order wherever it should be represented to them by the guardians, that they wished to take one or more children of able-bodied labourers into the workhouse. It would, in his opinion, be better to take this relaxation from the Poor-law Commissioners than to adopt this clause, which would be binding on them as a principle of law: for the Act, if thus altered, would weaken the authority of the Commissioners just as much as it strengthened that of the boards of guardians. He thought that the past conduct of the Poor-law Commissioners, had been such as ought to induce the House to place every confidence in them. As the House would of necessity have to consider the whole of this matter again in the course of next year, it would be unadvisable to proceed further with this clause during the present Session. He should certainly meet this clause with all the opposition in his power.

expressed his intention to support the clause. So far was he from being willing to extend the authority of the Commissioners, that he had every desire to abridge it: for he would tell the noble Lord, that he had no confidence whatever in the Poor-law Commissioners. He had no doubt that they had acted from the best motives; but still he could not conceal his conviction, that they had not exercised their discretion soundly in the administration, or rather in the refusal, of out-door relief. He complained that they had not even acted uniformly upon their own principles. In one district, their rule of refusing out-door relief, was strictly enforced—in another it was not enforced at all. He understood that this want of uniformity was peculiarly visible in the unions of so small a county as that of Sussex. In one of the unions of that county, out-door relief was not allowed to be given, whilst in another, not fifteen miles from it, that restriction was entirely superseded. This created exactly the same jealousy among the labouring classes, which the noble Lord asserted would result from the House agreeing to this clause. He was of opinion, that this clause, instead of going too far, did not go far enough. Though he would not relieve out of doors, the man who had married since 1834, he was not therefore to be precluded from relieving out of doors, the man who had married before that lime. With respect to the clause of which he had himself given notice, considering that it had been strongly recommended by the committee which had sat last year, and which had not been constituted in a manner very favourable to his views, he hoped that it would be supported by the House, and that no objection would be made to allowing widows under certain circumstances, to be relieved out of doors, on very liberal principles. He could assure the noble Lord, that an enormous majority of the boards of guardians throughout the kingdom, were most anxious to see the provisions of the New Poor-law, considerably relaxed.

said, that though he could not concur in the sweeping reprobation which his noble Friend had just cast upon the Poor-law Commissioners, he could have wished, that they had left in the boards of guardians, under the New Poor-law, a greater discretionary power, than that which they now allowed them to exercise. He could not give his support to the clause now proposed, as it would lead to great discontent in every parish, by dividing its labouring population into two distinct classes. He had no objection, however, to the clause which would allow the guardians to apply out-door relief to widows.

expressed himself hostile to the clause, as the power of administering out-door relief under the old law, had been the main cause of the poor being defrauded so long, of the proper amount of wages to which they were entitled. The present law, he considered calculated to accomplish great good, if it were impartially carried into effect. But if hon. Members persevered in first breaking down one of its principles by a side wind, and in then assailing another in the same manner, all the efficiency of it would be lost, and they might as well get rid of it altogether. He hoped the case of widows would be favourably considered, and that the whole subject would engage the attention of the House early next Session.

regretted to hear it proposed to delay for another year, giving that relief to the necessitous poor, which they so much required. Was that the boasted humanity of the gentlemen of England? He was astonished that a reformed Parliament could be found to listen to such a proposal with patience. That course was one that had a tendency to degrade the House, and to strip it of all the respect which it ought to receive from the people of the country. Would the gentry of England, because the Poor-law Amendment Act was a measure that relieved their estates in some degree from burdens to which they were liable, put their feet upon the necks of the poor, and say to them, "Our position is comfortable enough, we care not for your miseries?" He did trust that the House would take the subject into consideration now. He had often heard of the great principle of the Poor-law Amendment Act, but had never heard any one define what it was. Would the noble Lord, the Secretary of State, say that its principle was the denial of relief to the able-bodied man in all cases whatever? If that were not the principle, what else could be its principle but the starvation of the poor? He hoped that hon. Members would this night give direct votes upon the motion of the hon. Member for Sussex, and that there would be no weaving of votes. On a former night, the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, bad agreed, to accept the clause of the hon. Member for Sussex, in an amended shape; yet afterwards, when it was objected to, and a division was taken upon it, he was among the most eager to vote against it in that improved form. He thought the poor of this country had a right to relief without being compelled to go into a gaol; for he looked upon the union workhouses as gaols. If the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, intended to grant any relaxation of the law next year, he was taking a very mistaken course in opposing that which was now proposed. The noble Lord must not expect that the country would endure the continuance of the law in its present state, and especially of the commission. The people were not averse to the reform of the numerous abuses that clung to the old system of administering relief, but they were competent to manage their own affairs without the aid of commissioners, and they demanded to have that privilege. With regard to the present clause, nothing he thought could be so preposterous as drawing a distinction between parties married before a particular day, and those who were married after it. He was satisfied that the law respecting widows, as it at present stood, could not be strictly administered. Indeed, enough had passed in the committee, of which he had been a member, to show that cruelty was not exercised towards them. But he contended that destitution should be the sole and universal test; whenever they departed from that they would fall into grievous errors. The power of administering relief might, with perfect safety, be intrusted to the guardians, who were on the spot, and knew how far each applicant deserved relief, and whether destitution had or had not been brought on by the improvidence of the party. He should be glad to know if the noble Lord intended to grant any relaxation in the article of out-door relief? If so, it was but right that the country should know of it.

said, the House must now be prepared to declare whether they were to revert to the old practice of giving relief in aid of wages. If they were to revert to that fatal and mischievous principal, he would rather see the House do so boldly and at once, than do it by successive steps, deluding the public as to their real intentions. If they had recourse to the mistaken principle of giving relief wherever they saw distress, they would find that it would be attended with effects the most injurious to the interests of the labouring classes. The hon. Member for Finsbury had talked of the greed of the aristocracy, as if they were anxious to make gain of the sufferings of the poor. Why, they all knew, that it was not their own money that the guardians had to give away in administering relief, so much as the money of that class, which was only enabled by laborious and virtuous struggles to keep its head above those who were obliged to accept of relief. The poor-rates pressed with far more severity upon them, than upon persons possessed of great property. But he would ask any Gentleman who was acquainted with the condition of the country, particularly the southern part of it, previous to the year 1834, whether he did not know, that the real ground on which the bill was proposed, was less the pecuniary benefit it would confer on the rate-payers, than the advantage of those for whose sake the rates were levied. Tyranny, oppression, and cruelty to the poorer classes, and certain demoralization, were the inevitable consequences of the vicious system formerly in operation. These were the considerations, and not pecuniary saving, which induced him to think it incumbent on that House to adhere to the great principle of the Act for amending the Poor-laws. The principle of that Act was to give relief in all cases of real destitution, but to confine relief to such cases. That being then, the great principle of the bill, it was necessary to find some means by which they might prevent that principle from being invaded, because any departure from it would lead directly to giving relief to those who might little deserve it. He need only appeal to the elaborate reports of the Poor-law Commissioners for the proof, that it was perfectly impossible in practice to apply the principle of the hon. Member for Finsbury without its leading directly to abuse. It might be, that a man in health and strength might at times want some relief in addition to his wages, but in practice it was found quite impossible to investigate and see how far each claimant's real wants extended. If the labourer was made to see, that he should be aided out of the poor-rates, whenever wages fell, he was deprived of the great incitement to exertion—namely, the honest love of independence. In short, he was convinced, that the inevitable tendency of the system was to break down the distinction between those who really had claims upon the public benevolence, and those whose misfortunes, being owing to improvidence and want of frugality, had no claims of that kind. He should, therefore, give his decided opposition to the clause. One word on the subject of widows. He wished to recal to the recollection of the House, that the hon. Member for Finsbury, who was so inveterate an enemy to the Poor-law, and the rancour of whose hostility was such as occasionally, as appeared to him, to deprive the hon. Member of his usual good sense, had still, with all his rancour admitted that in the whole of the long inpuiry of two Sessions, which had been carried on by the Committee of the House, there had not been brought forward any proof of harsh treatment of widows, either on the part of the unions or of the Commissioners. If that was the case, where was the necessity for changing the law? If the mode of treatment was such that no fault could be found with it, why alter the system? The recommendations of the committee of last year had been referred to. What did the committee recommend? Why, that the principle which Gentlemen opposite so much condemned, should continue to be applied. He would only add, that he earnestly hoped the House would not permit what had been so well termed the fine end of the wedge to be driven in on this occasion.

said, that the nolbe Lord had not alluded to some parts of the Act, from which it appeared, that the clause was not so much opposed to the principles of the Poor-law Act, as to subject the hon. Member who moved it, to the charge of attempting to overthrow the principle of the Act by means of a side wind. For instance, the bastardy clause was made to have reference only to those children who were born since the passing of the Act. His hon. Friend had followed the exact principle of this part of the Act, and proposed the same relaxation of the law, in the cases he particularized as the Government, and the other supporters of the Act, had introduced in the bastardy clause with respect to those who had illegitimate children since the passing of the Act. He did not think, therefore, that his hon. Friend was liable to the imputation which had been thrown out against him. The clause he thought essentially necessary, and he should, I he re fore, sup- port the motion of his hon. Friend. He was rather inclined to think, that in some cases, the guardians were carrying the practice of giving out-door relief to a greater extent than was intended by this clause, and thought it was infinitely better to have this extension effected by Act of the Legislature, than to have it done by indirect means, as at present.

professed his disbelief of the real existence of the evils which it was the fashion to attribute to the Act of the 43rd of Elizabeth, nor did he believe, that under the old law, the relief administered was in any place permanently excessive. He believed, that the cases of over relief, were to those of under relief, in the proportion of one to 100. With respect to the present state of the labouring population, he believed, that the Poor-law had nothing to do with anything, that there might be, that appeared favourable in their position. When it was stated, that the new law had contributed to raise the condition of the labouring poor, it ought to be remembered, that during the whole of the five years in which the Poor-law had been in operation, no fewer than 400,000 of the poor had found employment on the railways. Instead of benefitting, the Poor-law was calculated, in his opinion, to coerce and grind the poor; and it was also his opinion, that had it not been for the accidental circumstance of the great demand for labour, which had arisen from the formation of so many railroads, the wages of labour in England, would have been, by this, thrown down, under the operation of the Poor-law, to the Irish level. This he had prophesied five years ago. The noble Lord (Howick) seemed very hostile to mingling relief with wages; he (Mr. Attwood) was not hostile to that at all. When a labourer's wages were too small, he believed, that the labourer had a perfectly constitutional right to ask of the public, that his wages should be raised. That a labourer should do this, was, in his opinion, perfectly just, perfectly right, and perfectly politic too. This, he thought, was the greatest and most valuable of an Englishman's rights; the right of living fairly and honestly by his own labour. He thought, too, that no sort of property was so sacred as property in labour. He never would cease to protest against any attempt, in this House or the Other; to grind down the poor below the level of a full, fair, and plentiful subsistence.

, believing that the Act was calculated to enable the labourer to hold up his head before his employer, and ask a fair price for his labour, was determined to support the present system. He thought, too, that it would be impossible to support the proposition contained in this clause without going into the whole subject; and, above all, he could not see upon what principle they were to distinguish between persons who were married in 1834, and those who were married in 1835. He should, therefore, vote against the motion.

The House divided on the question, that the clause be brought up—Ayes 42; Noes 77:—Majority 35.

List of the Ayes.

Aglionby, H. A.Hodgson, F.
Attwood, T.Hodgson, R.
Blackburne, I.Hope, hon. C.
Boldero, H. G.Kemble, H.
Broadley, H.Lowther, J. H.
Broadwood, H.Lygon, hon. Gen.
Brotherton, J.Norreys, Lord
Brownrigg, S.Palmer, G.
Bruges, W. H. L.Parker, R. T.
Burrell, Sir C.Pechell, Captain
Chute, W. L. W.Powell, Colonel
Cochrane, Sir T. J.Praed, W. T.
Douglas, Sir C. E.Round, J.
Duke, Sir J.Rushbrooke, Colonel
Duncombe, T.Somerset, Lord G.
Estcourt, T.Vere, Sir C. B.
Fielden, J.Vigors, N. A.
Forester, hon. G.Wakley, T.
Grimsditch, T.Williams, W.
Hamilton, C. J. B.
Hector, C. J.TELLERS.
Hindley, C.Burroughes, H. N.
Hodges, T. L.Darby, G.

List of the NOES.

Acland, Sir T. D.Cowper, hon. W. F.
Adam, AdmiralCraig, W. G.
Bannerman, A.Dalmeny, Lord
Baring, F. T.Divett, E.
Barnard, E. G.Donkin, Sir R. S.
Barry, G. S.Eliot, Lord
Blake, W. J.Ewart, W.
Bowes, J.Fitzpatrick, J. W.
Bramston, T. W.French, F.
Bridgeman, H.Gordon, R.
Briscoe, J. I.Grey, right hn. Sir C.
Bryan, G.Grey, right hn. Sir G.
Buller, C.Grosvenor Lord R.
Callaghan, W.Grote, G.
Campbell, Sir J.Hawes, B.
Cavendish hon. C.Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Chichester, J. P. B.Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J.
Clay, W.

Hoskins, K.Sheil, R. L.
Howard, P. H.Smith, G. R.
Howick, ViscountSmith, R. V.
Hutt, W.Somerville, Sir W. M.
Hutton, R.Stanley, hon. W. O.
Lushington, rt. hn. S.Steuart, R.
Macaulay, T. B.Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Maule, hon. F.Thornely, T.
Mildmay, P. St. JohnTroubridge, Sir E. T.
Morpeth, ViscountVerney, Sir H.
Muskett, G. A.Villiers, hon. C. P.
Norreys, Sir D. J.Warburton, H.
Paget, F.Wilbraham, G.
Pigot, D. R.Wood, C.
Price, Sir R.Wood, G. W.
Pryme, G.Worsley, Lord
Redington, T. N.Wrightson, W. B.
Rice, right hon. T. S.Wyse, T.
Rich, H.Yates, J. A.
Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Russell, Lord J.TELLERS.
Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.Stanley, E. J.
Seymour, LordParker, J.

Lord G. Somerset moved the following clause:—

"And be it further enacted, that in the case of any widow, who shall be unable to maintain her child or children, being the issue of her marriage, it shall be lawful for the guardians of the union or parish to which such widow is chargeable, if they shall think fit, to give relief in kind to such widow out of the workhouse, or to give relief to such widow by admitting one or more of such children into the workhouse of such union or parish, without requiring such widow to receive relief in such workhouse."

He thought it his duty to persevere in his motion, and hoped the House would support his proposition.

said, the Poor-law Commissioners made an exception between the case of a widow in the first six months of her widowhood. He submitted that the clause was not required, and he should therefore oppose it.

was much surprised at the opposition of the noble Lord to the clause; it was not in keeping with what he had given the House to understand on this point.

The House divided:—Ayes 43; Noes 64: Majority 21.

List of the Ayes.

Aglionby, H. A.Brownrigg, S.
Attwood, T.Bruges, W. H. L.
Blackburne, I.Burroughes, H. N.
Boldero, H. G.Chute, W. L. W.
Bramston, T. W.Cochrane, Sir T. J.
Broadley, H.Douglas, Sir C. E.
Broadwood, H.Duke, Sir J.
Brotherton, J.Duncombe, T.

Eliot, LordLygon, hon. Gen.
Estcourt, T.Palmer, G.
Fielden, J.Parker, R. T.
Forester, hon. G.Pechell, Captain
Grimsditch, T.Powell, Colonel
Hamilton, C. J. B.Praed, W. T.
Hector, C. J.Round, J.
Henniker, LordRushbrooke, Colonel
Hindley, C.Vere, Sir C. B.
Hodges, T. L.Vigors, N. A.
Hodgson, F.Wakley, T.
Hodgson, R.Williams, W.
Hope, hn. C.TELLERS.
Kemble, H.Somerset, Lord G.
Lowther, J. H.Darby, G.

List of the NOES.

Adam, AdmiralMorpeth, Lord
Anson, hon. Col.Muskett, G. A.
Baring, F. T.Norreys, Sir D. J
Barnard, E. G.Paget, F.
Barry, G. S.Parker, J.
Bernal, R.Price, Sir R.
Bowes, J.Pryme, G.
Bridgeman, H.Redington, T. N.
Briscoe, J. I.Rich, H.
Bryan, G.Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Buller, C.Russell, Lord J.
Callaghan, D.Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.
Campbell, Sir J.Seymour, Lord
Cavendish, hon. C.Sheil, R. L.
Cowper, hon. W. F.Smith, G. R.
Craig, W. G.Smith, R. V.
Dalmeny, LordSomerville, Sir W. M.
Divett, EStanley, hon. W. O.
Donkin, Sir R. S.Steuart, R.
Ewart, W.Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Fitzpatrick, J. W.Thornely, T.
Gordon, R.Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.Verney, Sir H.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.Villiers, hon. C. P.
Grote, G.Warburton, H.
Hawes, B.Wood, C.
Hill, Lord A. M. C.Worsley, Lord
Hobhouse, r. h. Sir. J.Wrightson, W. B.
Howard, P. H.Wyse, T.
Howick, ViscountYates, J. A.
Hutt, W.
Hutton, R.TELLERS.
Lushington, rt. hon. S.Maule, F.
Macaulay, T. B.Stanley, E. J.

rose pursuant to notice to propose a resolution that no female paupers above the age of sixty-five years should be put to hard labour. He had been informed, that in Holborn (we understood) workhouse, there were forty female paupers kept at hard work, one of the age of eighty, several of the age of seventy-five, and the majority about sixty-five, and these poor women worked eleven hours a-day picking wool. The allowance was 4d. a-day, and they had nothing but water to drink from six in the morning to six at night-—in short, they were much worse off than the felons in the gaols. He concluded with moving a clause to the following effect:—

"Whereas it is expedient to relax the working days of aged paupers, so as to distress them as little as possible; be it therefore enacted, that no guardians or other persons having the management of workhouses in England and Wales shall have power or authority to set to work or labour any female paupers whose age shall exceed sixty-five years.

said, the allegations on which this proposition was founded were denied. He did not think it right that they should legislate on a statement until it was found to be correct.

thought the clause ought to be passed, whether it were contradicted or not.

Motion negatived without a division.

Bill to he read a third time.

Bastardy Bill

Lord J. Russell moved the order of the day for the bringing up of the report on the Bastardy Bill.

wished to call the attention of the noble Lord to one or two facts in respect to which the Poor-law Bill might be much improved. His first proposition related to women pregnant with bastard children, and likely to become chargeable to the parish. There ought to be some power in the guardians to look after the putative father before her delivery, and to insure his appearance by recognizances, instead of waiting till the parish was actually chargeable. He believed his right hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke had suggested to the noble Lord, the other night, some clause that would carry this intention into effect; he was therefore fortified by that authority. The other point was that of appeals. If the putative father was brought before the petty sessions, great inconvenience might be suffered if there was no appeal. He had no objection to the most stringent recognizance; but he wished that there should be some relief afforded to persons aggrieved by the decision of the petty sessions. Persons holding respectable situations in life—dissenting ministers, for example—sometimes had the misfortune of having this charge cast upon them, and the justices, without the assistance of learned counsel, might determine the question in a manner which would most seriously affect the character of the party. He should not press these two points by making them the subject of motion; but he wished the noble Lord would consider them.

said, the absence of the right of appeal was a departure from the original principle of the Poor-law. In cases so peculiar, the want of an appeal added materially to the hardships suffered to be laid upon the male labouring population by this Act. There had been many cases of females fixing the charge on innocent persons.

said, that, with regard to the first proposition of the noble Lord, it did not seem to him advisable to adopt it, although it had been fortified by the high authority of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Pembroke. The fault attributed to the old Poor-law was, that it gave too great a facility to women to obtain a relief in such cases, and operated as an encouragement to them to continue in vice. He thought the suggestion of the noble Lord would restore some of the old abuses, which it was the object of Parliament to correct. In preparing an amendment of this clause of the Poor-law Amendment Act, he had some difficulty with regard to the second proposition of the noble Lord. No doubt there were some cases in which false charges operated with great injury against the persons so charged. At the same time they should endeavour to avoid making the law worse instead of better, by giving two trials, one before the petty sessions and another before the quarter sessions. Moreover, the proof under the new law, was not precisely similar to that under the old law, when the oath of the woman was sufficient; whereas, under the new law, corroborative evidence was required to satisfy the magistrates at the petty sessions. Still there was a difficulty, and not feeling confident as to the operation of the law, he was disposed, in deference to the opinions of several Members, to adopt the opinion that it was better, on the whole, to allow an appeal to the quarter sessions, and he should not object to the introduction of a clause, on the third reading of the bill, giving that appeal. But at the same time, not satisfied that this appeal might not be made vexatious, and expensive, and a source of scandal, if such should be the consequence, he should hold himself at liberty to take away the appeal, or substitute some other measure for it.

rejoiced to hear that the noble Lord intended to agree to this suggestion. He was aware of the indelicacy of these investigations before the Quarter-sessions; but such cases demanded more inquiry than could be given to them before the Petty-sessions.—Report agreed to.

District Constables

The House in Committee on the County and District Constables' Bill.

On clause 5 being proposed, which vests the appointment and disposition of the petty constables in the chief constable of each district, "subject to such orders as he may receive from the justices in quarter or special session assembled, and to the rules established for the government of the force,"

proposed the omission of the words "subject to such orders as he may receive from the justices in quarter or special session assembled," in order to substitute the following—"subject to the approval of two justices."

thought it advisable, as far as possible, to restrict the responsibility for the conduct of the force to the chief constable; it would, therefore, be advisable to omit all reference to the justices.

The committee divided on the questition that the words proposed to be left out, stand:—Ayes 56; Noes 23:—Majority 33.

The remaining clauses of the bill agreed to.

Mr. Ewart moved the addition of a clause to limit the operation of the bill to 1st of August, 1841. He was opposed to the principle of the bill, for he wished the police to be under the control of a responsible body. The bill ought not to be permanent, because neither the House nor the country had had proper opportunity to consider the provisions of it.

Clause brought up and read a first time.

On the motion that it be read a second time,

said, the county rates would be doubled by this measure, and it ought not, therefore, to pass without Parliament reserving the right to revise and re-consider it, with a view to give the counties at large the right of electing boards for the appointment and superintendence of this force. If it were once passed permanently, it would be difficult at any future time to alter the measure, and make the taxing body responsible.

had stated the other evening, the reasons which led him to think that it would not be satisfactory to make the bill temporary. One reason was, that under a temporary measure, it would not be possible to get the best persons to apply for situations, if they were told that the occupation might cease at the end of two years. He did not deny the proposition that taxation and representation ought to go together; but if they had said of the metropolitan police, when it was first established, that taxation and representation must go together, and that it should only last two years, the force would have been extinguished before the end of the time by its own unpopularity. He did not expect, at first, any great degree of popularity for this measure, but ultimately it would be felt, he was convinced, that it was quite consistent with the liberty of the subject that pickpockets and rioters should be taken up. If the bill were made temporary, every candidate, at every fresh election, would say that he would take every opportunity, if returned, to put an end to the gens d'armerie, to the Bourbon police, or whatever else they might be called.

said, this bill went to establish a tyranny, and did it in a weak way. If the noble Lord had said plainly, it is intended to establish an infernal French system of gens d'armerie, he could have understood him. He denied that there was any call for any of these extraordinary usurpations. There had been no petitions. He was convinced that the object of the bill was not, to preserve the peace, but to establish a tyranny, and the noble Lord knew it. He should support the motion of the hon. Member for Wigan.

should support the limitation of the bill to the year 1841. It was an incontestable fact, that for the last twenty years there had been a gradual diminution of crime in this country. Yet it was attempted to revolutionize the police under these circumstances. The decrease of enormous crimes had been particularly great within the last fourteen years. This was in favour of the old system of constabulary. In fact, there was as little crime in the rural districts of England as in any country in the world. In the rural districts, the two great classes of offences were poaching and wood cutting; but it was very seldom that a phea- sant disappeared, or a tree was cut, that the offender was not brought to justice. There was no evidence that the rural districts wanted a police. Almost all the facts which they had in evidence on the subject related to the manufacturing districts, but the state of those districts, and the proper means of securing order there, and repressing crime in its origin, ought to be considered separately. This measure would not be available in the manufacturing districts, in the rural it was not wanted. The noble Lord had called it a purely permissive measure. He did not know where the noble Lord got that soft epithet; it was not English. He supposed it emanated from the same source as was used by a leading Government print, when they spoke of the emeule at Birmingham, and when they got their normal schools, the Gallomaniac jargon would be complete.

said, there was great increase of crime in his county (Lincolnshire); but the very great disinclination to prosecute made the amount of crime not known. During the last three or four years highway robberies had been committed in his county. If the bill were only to be permitted to operate for two years, there would be a general disinclination on the part of the majority of the magistrates to bring it into force.

The House divided—Ayes 21; Noes 77:—Majority 56.

List of the Ayes.

Aglionby, H. A.Pechell, Captain
Attwood, T.Pryme, G.
Brotherton, J.Redington, T. N.
Duncombe, T.Scholefield J.
Finch, F.Thornely, T.
Hawes, B.Vigors, N. A.
Hector, C. J.Villiers, hon. C. P.
Hobhouse, T. B.Warburton, H.
Hodges, T. L.Williams, W.
Howard, P. H.TELLERS.
Hume, J.Ewart, W.
Oswald, J.D'Israeli, B.

List of the NOES.

Acland, Sir T. D.Cavendish, hon. C.
Adam, AdmiralChichester, J. P. B.
Barry, G. S.Clay, W.
Blackburne, I.Craig, W. G.
Bramston, T. W.Dalmeny, Lord
Broadley, H.Darby, G.
Broadwood, H.Divett, E.
Bruges, W. H. L,Ellis, J.
Burroughes, H. N.Ellis, W.
Campbell, Sir J.Filmer, Sir E.
Cave, R. O.Fitzpatrick, J. W.

Gordon, R.Philips, M.
Gordon, hon. Capt.Pigot, D. R.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.Praed, W. T.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Hamilton, C. J. B.Rich, H.
Harcourt, G. G.Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Hill, Lord A. M. C.Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.Rushbrooke, Colonel
Hodgson, R.Russell, Lord J.
Hope, hon. C.Rutherford, rt. hon. A.
Howick, Lord Vis.Smith, R. V.
Hutt, W.Stanley, hon. E. J.
Hutton, R.Stanley, hon. W. O.
Inglis, Sir R. H.Steuart, R.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H.Stock, Dr.
Lascelles, hon. W. S.Surrey, Earl of
Lushington, rt. hon. S.Thomson, rt. hon. C. P.
Macaulay, T. B.Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Mackinnon, W. A.Verney, Sir H.
Maule, hon. F.Wilbraham, G.
Mildmay, P. St. JohnWood, C.
Morpeth, Lord Vis.Wood, G. W.
Muskett, G. A.Wood, Colonel T.
Norreys, Sir D. J.Worsley, Lord
Paget, F.Wrightson, W. B.
Palmerston, Lord Vis.Yates, J. A.
Parker, R. T.Baring, F. T.
Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.Seymour, Lord

House resumed; report to be received.

Collection Of Poor-Rates

On the order of the day for bringing up the report on the Poor-rates Collection Bill,

objected to giving the Boards of Guardians by this bill greater power than was formerly possessed by the overseers. He hoped, also, that the noble Lord would give the opportunity of appeal to the quarter sessions.

said, he had met the first proposition of the hon. Member by amendments made in committee; and to the hon Member's second proposal he had a decided objection.

Mr. T. Duncombe moved that a proviso should be added to the bill to exempt from its operation, parishes which were subject to any local acts for the relief of the poor.

said, the bill was certainly not intended to apply to such parishes, but he thought the proviso unnecessary, and he feared that it would, as worded by the hon. Member, extend too far.

The House divided:—Ayes 14; Noes 59;—Majority 45.

List of the Ayes.

Attwood, T.D'Israeli, B.
Boldero, H. G.Ewart, W.
Darby, G.Hall, Sir B.

Hawes B.Williams, W.
Hector, C. J.Wood, Colonel T.
Hume, J.
Parker, R. T.TELLERS.
Pechell, CaptainGrimsditch, T.
Vigors, N. A.Duncombe, T.

List of the NOES.

Acland, Sir T. D.Mildmay, P. St. John
Adam, AdmiralMorpeth, Viscount
Aglionby, H. A.Muskett, G. A.
Bernal, R.Paget, F.
Blackburne, I.Palmer, C. F.
Broadley, H.Palmerston, Viscount
Broadwood, H.Parker, J.
Brotherton, J.Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.
Bruges, W. H. L.Pryme, G.
Campbell, Sir J.Redington, T. N.
Craig, W. G.Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Dalmeny, LordRich, H.
Ellis, W.Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Filmer, Sir E.Rushbrooke, Colonel
Finch, F.Russell, Lord J.
Gordon, R.Rutherford, rt. hon, A.
Gordon, hon. CaptainScolefield, J.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir J.Seymour, Lord
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.Stanley, hon. W. O.
Hobhouse, T. B.Steuart, R.
Hodges, T. L.Stock, Dr.
Hodgson, R.Thomson, rt. hon. C. P.
Hope, hon. C.Verney, Sir H.
Howard, P. H.Warburton, H.
Howick, ViscountWood, C.
Hutt, W.Wood, G. W.
Hutton, R.Worsley, Lord
Inglis, Sir R. H.Wrightson, W. B.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H.TELLERS.
Lushington, rt. hon. S.Baring, F. T.
Maule, hon. F.Stanley, E. J.

Report agreed to.


I rise in pursuance of notice which I gave, to move for leave to bring in a bill for the better suppression of the Slave-trade. The House are aware, I presume, of the grounds and circumstances which render it necessary for me to make this motion. We know, by the committee appointed to search the Lords' Journals, that the bill which was passed for the purpose of suppressing the Slave-trade by this House, and which was sent up to the House of Lords, has not passed that House. Undoubtedly, in the first instance, that fact would have led this House to imagine, that there was a difference of opinion between the two Houses of Parliament upon the great, interesting, and important subject to which the bill so sent up related. If that difference of opinion had really existed, it would have been a subject of much regret and deep concern in this House, and might have materially if not entirely defeated the efforts which this House of Par- liaraent, in concurrence heretofore with the other House, has made to put an end to this abominable crime. But I am happy to be able to state, that the proceedings which have taken place in the House of Lords since the rejection of that bill, tend satisfactorily to show, that the rejection did not arise from any difference between the two Houses as to the great object in view, and that it must have been founded either upon some misconception of the grounds upon which that particular bill was proposed, or some objections in point of form connected with it; because the House of Lords have, since they rejected the bill, sent up an address to the Crown, couched in the strongest possible terms, calling upon the Crown to give to the cruizers, such orders as may effectually enable them to put down and prevent the traffic in slaves. Now, that address proves, that the House of Lords are sincerely desirous of co-operating with this House in the attainment of that great object, and that address, I think, by calling upon the Crown to take measures which undoubtedly the Crown will not hesitate one moment in taking, goes strongly to prove, that it was but a formal objection, which made the House of Lords indisposed to pass the particular measure which we proposed. As far as we can judge, by those means of information we possess, of the grounds upon which that bill was considered objectionable, those grounds were two:—first, an objection was taken to the course of proceeding; next, an objection was taken to the particular nature of the bill. It was contended, in the first place, that the proceeding ought to have originated in consequence of a communication of the Crown to Parliament. That objection will now be removed, because, in answer to the address of the House of Lords there will be a communication from the Crown, intimating the intention of the Crown to take those measures which the House of Lords has requested might be taken. The proceedings, therefore, will from that moment be placed upon the footing which the House of Lords thought it ought to stand upon. The other objection taken was, that in the preamble of the bill, Parliament was called upon to pronounce an opinion, as it were, upon the difference which has arisen between Great Britain and Portugal; and it was understood to have been alleged that it belonged to the Crown, acting on the responsibility of its advisers, to pronounce an opinion upon that difference, and that Parliament ought not to have been brought in, as it were, to espouse the opinion of the Crown, and make itself responsible for a measure which exclusively devolved upon her Majesty's Ministers. I propose to get rid of that objection, by entirely altering the preamble of the bill I now ask leave to introduce. I propose, that the preamble of the bill shall be (if I may say so) entirely Parliamentary, merely reciting the expediency of giving certain powers to the Crown and to certain courts of law, without entering into any question pending between the Crown of England and Portugal. I should confidently hope, that these two circumstances would remove the objections which the other House of Parliament entertained against the former bill. As it will then stand, we may be entitled to hope that if we pass a bill which shall contain those powers which are absolutely necessary to give effect to those measures which the House of Lords has requested the Crown to take, that that House will not refuse to give it their sanction, seeing that by those powers alone the end we all desire can be accomplished. I should perhaps, especially at this late hour, content myself with this statement, but I feel it necessary, for my own vindication, and in some degree for the vindication of the House of Parliament, whose organ only I have been on this occasion, to explain the course of proceeding which was adopted-in the preparation of the former bill. It was objected to that bill, that it is unusual to call upon Parliament to act without any previous communication from the Crown, but those who urged that objection seemed to have forgot, that the bill itself arose out of Parliamentary proceedings, for it was in the course of last year, by addresses to the Crown from both Houses of Parliament, that the attention of the Crown was called to the fact, that Portugal had violated her engagements and treaties with this country, and had refused to assent to an adequate treaty for the suppression of the Slave-trade. The meaning of those addresses was, that the Crown should endeavour to obtain from Portugal such an adequate treaty. In the discussion upon the address from this House I stated, on the part of the Government, that we would endeavour to prevail on Portugal to sign such a treaty; and if we failed, we should come to Parliament and declare, that we had so failed, and in that case call upon Parliament to give us the necessary powers, in order to accomplish the purposes which Parliament itself wished to have accomplished. In reply to that declaration of mine I was told by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, that if we did come to Parliament with that statement, our request would be granted, and that Parliament would give us the necessary powers. In the early part of this Session, I stated in answer to an inquiry that was made of me, that we had failed in obtaining from Portugal a treaty, which alone would have been sufficient for our purposes. I was then asked if I intended to come to Parliament. I replied that it was our intention to do so, and that I had a bill in preparation, but that I wished to postpone it until I could lay before Parliament the papers that would show the course of the negociation between this country and Portugal, and explain how and why we had failed, and wherefore it was that we were obliged to ask for further powers. I am sure therefore that it is from misconception and inadvertence merely that the objection as to our mode of proceeding has been urged. However the objection was urged, and it was stated that we were doing that which was tantamount to making war; while if we had declared war against Portugal we should have been obliged to lay before Parliament the projet and contre projet, the notes and the answers. The parties who made that objection were not aware (and it was no wonder, considering the multitude of papers that are before Parliament) that I had laid all those papers on the Tables of both Houses in the fullest detail before I brought in the bill—the introduction of which, in the opinion of some, perhaps, I too long delayed—in order that it might be proceeded with after a full statement to the House of the transactions between the two countries. With regard to the bill itself, if there was any departure from form, or from the usual course of Parliamentary proceedings, I did not altogether inadvertently adopt that departure, because, before I brought in the bill I felt it my duty to consult several persons, some connected with myself in politics, others unconnected with me in general politics, but all equally interested in attaining the great object in view, as to the bill I intended to bring in before I actually produced it to the House; and if we all of us preferred that form of the preamble to which objection has been made elsewhere, it may have been an error of judgment on our part, but at all events we did not adopt it inadvently or from a wish unnecessarily to depart from the usual course. After deliberation we thought it the better mode of proceeding under the extraordinary circumstances of the case, that the bill which gave these powers should record the circumstances that lead to the necessity of creating them. At the same time, if these objections can be removed, I am sure this House will feel happy to make any change in order to obtain the much desired unanimity on this subject. Objections have been made to my not having introduced the bill with a statement of the grounds on which it was founded. It was perhaps unfortunate that no debate arose upon the bill. If there had been, it might have prevented the misconception that had arisen elsewhere. But the cause of there being no debate, was the perfect unanimity which prevailed in this House on the subject. There was an equal understanding by all parties of the grounds upon which the measure was introduced. All were equally anxious that there should be no unnecessary delay, and we preferred passing the bill sub silentio, that it should that not be postponed. We thought, too, that equal unanimity would prevail elsewhere upon the subject, and I am convinced that our expectation will prove ultimately right, notwithstanding the circumstance which has rendered the introducion of a second bill necessary. There having been no debate, however, it might be necessary to state briefly the grounds upon which Parliament is called upon to adopt the present measure. The first ground is that Portugal is bound by different treaties with this country to abolish her Slave-trade; not only to co-operate with us in that abolition, but to use all the means in her own power to accomplish that purpose. These stipulations were not made gratuitously on the part of Portugal. We made pecuniary sacrifices. We gave her money which, by her own admission, amounted to nearly half a million. Beyond that we paid to Portuguese owners for the loss of their slave ships upwards of 300,000l. as compensation money. Thus besides the 300,000l., a sum between 450,000l. and 460,000l. was paid to Portugal as a nation as the price for abolishing the Slave-trade. The treaties of 1815 and 1817 contained engagements most stringent and complete upon this subject. Now, Sir, has Portugal fulfilled these engagements? No. She has violated them in a greater degree, I will venture to say, than any country in the history of the civilized world could be found ever to have violated the solemn obligations of treaties. I will venture to say that there is no instance in history of such a flagrant breach as that committed by Portugal towards this country with regard to the Slave-trade. For, instead of suppressing the Slave-trade and abolishing it, she encourages it. She not only connives at it by her officers; but the authorities actually lend themselves to it, encourage it, thrive by it, make fortunes by it, enrich themselves by it, form parties of influence which control and overrule the Government at Lisbon. It is owing to the very fortunes made by the Slave-trade, that an influence of a political character has been acquired at Lisbon which now overrules and sways the Government of that country. By this slave-trading faction the government of Portugal has been prevented from acceding to the treaties which we have proposed. I say, so far from abolishing the Slave-trade, she has substituted her slave-trading flag in the place of all the slave-trading flags in the world. In proportion as we have been enabled to exclude from that trade the flag of Holland, the flag of France, and the flag of Spain, we find the flag of Portugal extending its protection to the trade which was formerly carried on under the flags of those different Powers. Not only has she not fulfilled her engagements with us—not only has she retained her trade where it was when those engagements were contracted, but she has actually increased it; and there is now not a slave-trader that crosses the ocean that does not carry his protection of that traffic under the prostituted flag of Portugal. I can only say, to take a single instance, that I believe not less than 100,000 Africans, from one side of the Atlantic to the other, are annually carried from a state of liberty to a state of slavery into the Brazils and Cuba under the flag of Portugal. This is therefore a case of engagements contracted here, and of engagements violated. No efforts on our part have been wanting to procure by persuasion from Portugal what Portugal ought to have granted unasked. We have for more than four years endeavoured to persuade government after government in Portugal to conclude a treaty, which shall by her consent, enable us to acomplish the purposes which she had bound herself by her own means to effect, but we have endeavoured in vain. The several governments of Portugal, by pretexts the most frivolous, upon objections the most unfounded, upon allegations totally destitute of truth, have rejected the proposals which we have made, and by every contrivance have spun out the negociation for the mere purpose of avoiding the termination of the question. At one time we say, "Make slave-trade piracy." "No," say they, "we cannot do that, because it would be repugnant to our custom and feelings to put a slave-trader to death." We say, "We don't ask you to make it a capital offence, but to subject it to a severe secondary punishment." Still they refuse. We then say, "Call it a piratical offence." "No," that is an offensive term." We propose to extend the right of search by treaty. They require to make the treaty limited in point of time, for the obvious purpose, that when the treaty should have expired, they might re-establish the Slave-trade in all its vigour. We propose to continue the mixed commission. "No," say they, "why continue the mixed commission with us, when you have discontinued it with France?" But France is no longer engaged in the Slave-trade. We ask them to agree to a regulation by which captured negroes should be placed under the superintendence of the mixed commission, in order that they should not, under the pretence of being made free, be converted into slaves. Portugal has refused. She says, that it would be contrary to her honour, and contrary to the principles of her laws, which declare, that there shall be no foreign interference. It must at once be obvious, that any negroes taken in a slave-ship under a Portuguese flag, if handed over to the Portuguese authorities, would, although nominally emancipated, be in fact and reality slaves. As soon as they have agreed to one proposition, and as soon as by some modification we have got rid of one objection, they have started another. In short, there is, on the part of Portugal, an obstinate and rigid determination not to make any treaty with us to give any facility whatever to the great purpose we have in view. Then I say it is necessary that we should do it by our own means. We have told Portugal over and over again, as well by the addresses of the two Houses of Parliament, as by our appeals to Portugal to grant us a treaty, that if they did not of their own accord consent to fulfil their engagements, this country would be obliged to take the matter into its own hands. Therefore we do not, as is supposed by some, come by surprise upon the Portuguese government. It has been thought, that if we had an opportunity of giving them more notice, they would have yielded to our request. Notice they hare had in abundance. It would be mere mockery to give them more. They knew long ago what we are going to do, and they determined rather than consent to what they were bound to give us, to let us take it by our own means; and I do not know, that it would be disagreeable to them for us to do it. Although one must acknowledge that the conduct of the Portuguese government has in this respect disentitled them to the esteem of 11 mankind, yet I do not think so ill of them as to believe, that it has arisen from any real disinclination to put an end to this traffic. I believe, that they have been controlled by a domestic power stronger than themselves, and that the nation at large does not participate in this traffic, and I really think, that in doing this thing it will not be unbeneficial or unacceptable to some of those persons that may have appeared to be obstinate in resisting our proposals. For in truth Portugal has no interest in this trade. She has no colonies that require slaves for the purposes of cultivation. She is an exporting and not an importing country. In truth, a great part of the ships that sail under Portuguese colours, and profess to be Portuguese, are the property of Spaniards, and of rapacious pirates of all nations, in whose success or failure Portugal as a nation has no more interest than we ourselves. I say, therefore, we are not doing that by Portugal which Portugal has any right to resent. But the powers we ask for by this bill are necessary to enable us to execute the object we have in view, and it is on that ground, mainly, that I trust the other House will concur in the adoption of this bill. The noble Lord then proceeded to state the nature of the clauses in the bill, and observed, no doubt, as had been suggested, the Crown, by its prerogative, and on the responsibility of its advisers, might take measures which would effectually put down Portuguese slavery; but there would be two inconveniences for which it would he necessary to provide a remedy. In the first place, the officers who had to act under the orders of the Crown, would be exposed to vexatious and harrassing proceedings in the courts of law in this city; and he was sure neither House of Parliament would wish the Crown to employ the officers of the navy in such circumstances as must involve them in consequences most inconvenient to them. In the next place, it was true we might capture the ships and deal with them accordingly, but he contended it would not befitting that this country should seize ships primâ facie the property of the subjects of other States, and deal with them without having proved before some court of record the grounds of such proceedings. It was necessary, then, to have an act to define what should constitute a slave-trader. It was not necessary that slaves should be aboard; a ship being equipped in a particular manner was an infallible proof that she was engaged in the Slave-trade. It was necessary to have an act of the Legislature before the Courts of Admiralty could condemn a ship upon that ground. It was also necessary to enable the Crown to give the same bounties to those who captured these slave-ships under this treaty as under treaties with other Powers. This was the extent of the powers called for under the bill. He was convinced they would be sufficient to enable the Government to put down the traffic in slaves carried on under the Portuguese flag, and a great point would then be accomplished. The trade, it would be said, might still be carried on under other flags; when driven from one flag the slave-trader might seek refuge in another. After having united all the flags of Christendom in an attempt to put down this horrid traffic, the slavers might repudiate all flags, and divest themselves of every document which might enable the captor to prove that they belonged to any particular nation. That would be the last refuge of desparing crime. He would propose a clause by which a ship taken under those circumstances should be dealt with as if she were an English slave-trader, provided always, that if in the course of trial it should appear, that she did belong to some State, then the case should not be adjudicated upon by the Court of Admiralty, but dealt with as if at the outset she had been of the nation to which she was ultimately proved to belong. It might be said, that this was waging war against the world. He did not see how any nation could complain of such a course. If the protection of a nation was cast to the winds he did not see what ground there was of complaining that we had not respected a nationality the existence of which was studiously kept beyond our knowledge. Well, then, what prospect was there of arriving at that general union in putting down the Slave-trade, the hope of which he had held out to the House? When all the Powers of Europe had united in giving a mutual right of search, or the power of condemnation by a mixed commission, there would no longer remain any defence for carrying on the Slave-trade under any European flag. He had on a former occasion staled, that he had concluded treaties with Chili, Grenada, and Venezuela, and he had the satisfaction of stating, that he had since received intelligence that a treaty was concluded with Buenos Ayres. Although he had not concluded a treaty of execution with Mexico, she had stipulated by treaty to co-operate with us in the suppression of the Slave-trade. And though the United States might perhaps still feel some little jealousy as to the right of search (which in their understanding implied something very different from our impression), he still relied, from the advances it had already made, on the hearty and cordial cooperation of that government in putting down this abominable traffic. Well, then, if these Powers sincerely co-operated in this undertaking, they would have the satisfaction of feeling that they put an end to misery which no imagination could conceive, and to an enormity of human crime, the magnitude of which no tongue could adequately describe. He was persuaded the House of Lords would not refuse to co-operate with them in this work. He was satisfied the House of Lords were as sincere as the House of Commons were in detestation of this abominable traffic. They must know that this was the best recompense they could make for the long and grievous sufferings which England had in great part neglected under this system. He trusted the bill which they should send up unanimously would receive the assent of the Upper House. He was satisfied if they took this step it would be a great means towards the accomplishment of the end which all had in view. And if, said the noble Lord, England should have the glory of succeeding in her efforts and exertions to put a complete end to this amount of human misery and crime, I think that alone would be sufficient to hand down her memory in undying brightness to the lapse of endless ages.

said, the vast sacrifices which this country had incurred since 1815, amounting at least to 1,000,000l. sterling, in consequence of her treaties with Portugal, besides 2,000,000l. in bounty for the maintenance of an adequate force, demanded the assistance of Portugal; but Portugal, nevertheless, had gone on up to this moment in violating all her treaties. He was not exceeding the truth when he stated, that since that treaty, 2,000 Portuguese ships had been engaged in that abominable traffic, and had carried not less than 1,000,000 slaves away from Africa, That being the case, there must have died between the time of their seizure and their adjudication not less than 120,000 out of that number. Instead of that treaty having been carried into effect in any one point, the traffic in slaves had gone on increasing with a rapidity even far beyond that which had been mentioned by his noble Friend. He held in his hand the Shipping Gazette of Rio Janeiro, of the date of the 31st of May 1839. It appeared that there were on that day 69 vessels, bearing the Portuguese flag, lying off Rio Janeiro, and he had a certificate, under the hand of the British consul, that of that number 59 were slavers. When he looked at our treaties with Portugal, and at the very first obligation contained in the treaty of 1810, he found that every syllable of those treaties had been violated from the beginning to the end. By the treaty of 1817, the Portuguese engaged to abandon altogether the Slave-trade to the north of the equator, and also in every part of Africa that did not belong to themselves, and, in fact, to confine the trade to the supplying of their own transatlantic possessions, and when they had no such possessions for the last ten years. Never, he would say, had there been exhibited to the civilized world so gross an infraction of the most solemn obligations to which a country could bind itself. But there was more than this. The treaty was not a voluntary offer on the part of Portugal; it did not arise from a conviction of the inhumanity of the traffic; but it was a treaty for which Great Britain had paid an equivalent. Portugal had not only robbed this country, but it had insulted us by a pretended abolition. In December 1836, the Portuguese government agreed to abolish the trade, but did they give this country any power to carry that abolition into effect? Did they themselves do any act in furtherance of the agreement thus entered into? Why, had not their own governor of Mozambique taken upon himself to suspend the execution of the treaty entered into by his employers, and had not the government of Portugal approved of that suspension? These were facts, and could not be contradicted. Much more might be said on this subject, but he would confine himself to a very few words upon the remedy that was proposed. There had been, he regretted to say, an entire misapprehension of the former bill that had passed this House on the part of the House of Lords. He had no hesitation in saying, that that bill did in no respect whatever contravene the accustomed course of legislation. If that bill had been introduced for the purpose merely of doing by Act of Parliament what the Crown was already entitled to do by its prerogative, he would never have supported it. Undoubtedly it was perfectly competent to the Crown to declare war, or to issue letters of marque; but one of the wisest principles of government was not to go to war for an object which was attainable by peaceable means. That wise course was pursued by the Government, and the bill now introduced for the purpose, not of usurping the place of the prerogative, but for the purpose of aiding that prerogative, was in fact a subsidiary measure to give due effect to the prerogative of the Crown. The noble Lord had fully explained the intentions of his measure. He declared, that if men engaged in this trade, they should not be entitled by the law of nations to the protection of the law of nations; and that if they sailed under piratical colours, they should be treated as other persons who assumed to themselves the character of pirates. Such an enactment was absolutely necessary in this trade; for to such an extent had the temptation of profit gone in this nefarious trade, that pirate vessels were now fitted out to cruise for the smaller slave-vessels. When such vessels were captured by them, the master and crew were consigned to a watery grave, and the cargo—the fruit of a second robbery—was carried off without remorse to the Brazils. To say that persons engaged in such iniquitous practices, should be protected by the law of nations, was an insult to the law of every nation. He did hope, and trust, and believe, that this bill would become law. He was perfectly confident, and he spoke unfergnedly, that the former bill miscarried from misapprehension, and when the speech of his noble Friend became known, and his explanations were made public, he verily believed, that among those who opposed the former bill, this bill would meet with some of its ablest and warmest advocates.

rose upon this occasion, lest the whole responsibility, or, he should rather say, the whole glory of this measure, should be left to those statesmen to whom he had long been politically opposed. He hoped that the predictions of his right hon. and learned Friend would be realized, and that their misapprehensions being removed, the House of Lords would join in supporting the bill which the noble Lord had asked leave to bring in. The speech of the noble Lord was not less deserving of eulogy for its conciliatory tone towards the other House of Parliament, and even towards Portugal herself, than for its forcible and eloquent explanation of the great rights of justice and humanity. A speech more worthy of the subject he had not heard from any of the greatest orators that had graced that House during his recollection. He, also, like his right hon. and learned Friend opposite, had received from Rio Janeiro the Shipping Gazette, to which he had made allusion. And to the statement quoted by him from that document, he could add this further piece of information, that 35 of those vessels, from their papers, appeared to have come from the coast of Africa. Was any man weak enough to suppose, that it was a legitimate traffic that had carried such a large number of Portuguese vessels from the coast of Africa to Rio Janeiro? There was another piece of information recently communicated to him, apparent, indeed, on the face of papers now before Parliament, which showed the character as well as the extent of the Brazilian traffic in slaves,—that was, the formation of a company, with a settlement on the coast of Africa, for a supply of slaves, regularly registered and chartered. A more systematic violation of treaties, a more deliberate infraction of the rights of justice, humanity, and religion, could not be found, than that which was apparent in all the proceedings of Portugal on this point towards this country. Hoping, as he did, that much advantage would accrue from this bill, he was still anxious that the House should not suppose that it would be sufficient to remove from the civilized world the stain of Slave-trade. If one nation deemed itself at liberty to form establishments on the coast of Africa to carry on the Slave-trade, means must be taken by this country to cut off in Africa the source of the evil; legitimate commerce must be carried into the centre of the vast regions recently made known to us; and to prevent slavery from being carried from Africa across the Atlantic, a larger force, and a force, too, of steamers, must be employed upon the coasts. We must not content ourselves with trusting to the mere parchment on which this bill might be written, but we must, as he had stated before, be prepared, if necessary, for war. War, however, he was convinced would not ensue. Bellum ostendite, pacem habebitis. He would not enter into any political consideration on this occasion, but he hoped that he might be permitted to say this, that, in the existing circumstances of Portugal, he noble Lord and his colleagues opposite had a peculiar right to claim from her the performance of all that by treaty she has stipulated to grant. He concluded by stating, that he cordially concurred in the views which the noble Lord had explained with so much impressive eloquence, and he was only sorry that others besides themselves had not been present to listen to its inspiring accents.

supported this measure. Lord Brougham had done him the honour to send him in the last Session of Parliament a pamphlet, in which his Lordship was pleased to assert, that rather than take measures to abolish the Slave-trade, we had quailed before the might of Portugal, and had not dared to encounter the empire of Brazil. How, then, did it happen that the noble Lord was not present in his place to advocate the defence of humanity, when her Majesty's Ministers were preparing to show both Portugal and Brazil that they would be trifled with no longer? The noble Lord on that occasion had spoken of tongues cleaving to the roof of the mouth. To what fatality was it owing that his tongue, once so voluble, then so immoveable, had cleaved to the roof of his mouth in mute inglorious silence, and had forgotten all its usual stratagems and tricks of fence?

approved of the principle of this bill, and hoped that the House would not object to dispense with its usual forms in reference to it. He congratulated the noble Lord on not allowing both himself and the friends of emancipation generally to be disappointed by the fate of his former bill.

Leave given; Bill brought in, and read a first time.