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tributable to the game-laws. He would appeal to any country magistrate to say, whether he had not found, in the course of his experience, that the greater part of the men apprehended for serious crimes, did not attribute their situation to having been concerned in poaching.

Mr. Sykes said, he trusted that the remedy before them for acknowledged evils would be found efficient. He was glad to hear that the law which so cruelly punished a boy for stealing an apple was to be revised. It was ridiculous to punish so trivial an offence in so severe a manner. He thought there were very few members of that House who had not been guilty of it. With regard to the matter of costs, they ought to be particularly cautious how they trusted magistrates with a discretionary power of that kind over the county rates. He meant particularly magistrates of towns who had large personal property, but which was not subject to the county rate. There were other ways in which the costs might be defrayed. In misdemeanors, for example, the punishment was fine and imprisonment. Now, could it not be so arranged, that magistrates should have the power of giving part, or all of the fine to the prosecutor?

Sir G. Chetwynd approved of the measure, but objected to the expense likely to be cast upon each county by the prosecutions for assaults and certain other offences. He was aware that this was a serious charge upon individuals, but he nevertheless hoped that the right hon. gentleman would be cautious in adding this burthen to the county rates. He was surprised to hear an hon. member state that there was no specific mode of punishing persons guilty of child-stealing, other wise than by prosecuting the parties for stealing the clothes. The fact was, that the act of the 34th of George 3rd, c. 101, made the stealing of children a grand larceny.

Mr. Estcourt thought it was a mistake to attribute the increase of crime in the country to the operation of the game-laws. He rather looked for the cause of that increase in the poverty and privation endured by the lower classes. With respect to the payment of costs upon prosecutions for misdemeanor, he agreed in the principle, but thought the expense should be defrayed, not out of the county rate, which touched only one description of property, but out of the general taxation of the country.

Mr. Alderman Brydges suggested that

some mode of disposing of juvenile offenders ought to be adopted, as it was found that the alternative of imprisoning them, or letting them run about the streets, was calculated to corrupt and demoralize them.

Mr. Secretary Peel protested that he did not know how to frame an act of parliament which would prevent children from running about the streets; but any suggestion from the hon. member to that effect he should attend to with great pleasure. The provisions of his measure generally he wished to have thoroughly canvassed, and should feel obliged to any hon. gentleman who would take the trouble to suggest alterations in it. There was one alteration in the law relative to estreating recognizances which he should deem it peculiarly important to make as soon as possible. Nothing was more common than for persons who were bound over to appear as witnesses, upon prosecutions, and not called in court, to be actually arrested, perhaps years afterwards, owing to some error as to their appearance or non-appearance. As an instance of this vexatious practice, the right hon. gentleman stated the contents of a petition which he had just received from a prisoner in Shrewsbury gaol, who had been arrested on the estreating of his recognizances for a prosecution in the year 1818, he having been present in court while the trial went on, but not having been called as a witness. With respect to the payment of costs in cases of misdemeanor at sessions, he believed that they would be far lighter in amount if paid out of the county-rate than out of the general funds of the country. He had observed that all expenses allowed at sessions by magistrates who had an immediate desire to keep the county expenses down, were much lighter than those given by the judges of assize.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.

STEAM VESSELS IN SCOTLAND.] The Lord Advocate rose to move for leave to bring in a bill to regulate vessels navigated by Steam in Scotland. The object of his bill was, he said, to prevent accidents, and to take care that the persons appointed to navigate Steam-vessels should be properly qualified, that the vessels should undergo examination, and be obliged to carry lights, and that in navigating them, they should follow the same rule as those observed by carriages in the streets.

Mr. Hume said, he would not directly oppose the bill, but he had great doubts of the utility of it. It was brought on in consequence of some recent accidents, which every one must lament; but he did not approve of the system of legislating upon particular events. The public might be left, he thought, to take care of itself. People would choose their steampackets as they chose other conveniences that they wanted, and would take those which had the best reputation for safety.

Sir H. Parnell had strong doubts of the propriety of such a bill as this. Unless the learned lord could show that

there was a necessity for the measure, it would be better not to interfere. In consequence of some accidents which happened between Liverpool and Dublin some years ago, a bill containing regulations of this sort requiring inspection, &c. was enacted; but the law was altogether neglected. A law of this sort was as applicable to stage coaches as to steamvessels.

Sir E. Harvey said, that if the bill was brought in, it ought to be general. It was as much wanted in other parts of the kingdom as it was in Scotland.

Mr. Sykes objected to any bill of this sort proposing intricate regulations, which it would be impossible to carry into effect. It would be better to leave the conduct of the captain free, and not to interfere with him.

The Lord Advocate said, that the object of the bill was to establish public rules for the regulation of steam vessels. Had those regulations been in existence a year ago, the accident in October last could not have occurred.

Sir J. Newport would object to the motion. If the people of Scotland were not to be trusted with the management of their own steam-boats in their own way, it would be much better to introduce a bill to prevent them from using them altogether.

Sir C. Cole hoped, if any enactment were deemed necessary, that it would be applicable to all parts of the empire. The best regulation that could be suggested was that which prevailed in the royal navy, in which, by given signals, each ship knew on which side of the other it ought to pass. Had that principle obtained, the fatal accident alluded to could not have happened.

Mr. Secretary Canning hoped that hon.

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gentlemen would not refuse permission to bring in the bill. A notion had become prevalent, that there was a disposition in the House to rob Scotland; and it would, indeed, be a most serious robbery to deprive her of her inhabitants. A long list of grievances under which Scotland laboured had recently been sent out into the world; and if the House of Commons now refused to give a hearing to this bill in the first instance, the refusal would be set down as an additional item in the long catalogue.

Mr. Hume strongly urged the learned lord to withdraw his bill.

Mr. Hobhouse trusted that the learned lord would withdraw his bill. The people of Scotland would not thank him for this interference. He might just as well bring in a bill to prohibit them from navigating by steam.

The House divided: For bringing in the bill 70; Against it 26: Majority 44.

LOCAL JURISDICTIONS IN IRELAND.] Mr. S. Rice moved for leave to bring in a bill for the more effectual execution of the laws in cities and towns corporate, and other local jurisdictions in Ireland.

Mr. Goulburn had no immediate objection to the motion, but reserved his right on the introduction and discussion of the bill to suggest any curtailments, or to offer any clauses which he might deem necessary to prevent the infringement upon chartered rights and privileges of corporations.

Mr. Hutchinson hoped that the bill. would be printed before it was discussed, and that it would be sent over to Ireland, and ample time allowed for the statement of objections to it on the part of bodies interested.

Mr. R. Martin said, that he looked on this bill as a great improvement in the laws of Ireland. It would go to cure the abuses that were obvious to all; such as the registration of freeholds. He knew some counties and towns, in which freeholds were kept unregistered for years.

Mr. Frankland Lewis thought the measure ought not to be confined to Ireland. As a general principle of legislation, it was capable of being applied to many parts of this country with advantage. At the same time it was a question not free from difficulty, and he hoped no steps would be taken but upon mature consideration and certain information. The greatest difficulty would be to provide a

local magistracy sufficiently responsible, of former oppression and misrule) by for these trusts; care at the same time being taken to guard against infringements of local jurisdictions. He dwelt himself in a part of Wales where they suffered from that unavoidable defect. It would be very desirable if a power were given to the Crown to appoint magistrates to act in such cases; provided it were done with a nice regard to chartered and corporation rights.

Mr. Warre concurred in the sentiments of the hon. gentleman, and advised that some steps should be taken for reforming local jurisdictions in England as well as in Ireland.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.

which the energies of Ireland were still crippled. All acts subsequent to the reign of Geo. 2nd should be swept from the Statute-book, and not a trace should be left to remind that unhappy country of her former degradation. With respect to the measure which he was about to submit to the House, it was notorious that in a great number of cases the majority of persons in Ireland who voted for members to serve in parliament, were non-residents of those particular places for which members were returned. In the large and populous town of Belfast a considerable portion of those who were entitled to vote were not residing in the town. The same might be said of Dundalk and Newry. Now, the ostensible cause of this was the act of Geo. 2nd, commonly called the Newtown act, which gave the power to non-residents to vote for the return of members to serve in parliament. He would not occupy the House with any further observations at present, but would move, as considerable difficulty at present existed in conse

resident freeholders in Ireland of voting at elections, for leave to bring in a bill to repeal the act 21 Geo. 2nd, chap. 10, section 8, commonly called the Newtown act. Before he sat down, he begged to disclaim any motive of a personal or interested nature in proposing this motion. He had no ulterior object to accomplish. His only wish was to benefit his country; and should he have the good fortune to succeed in this instance, he should feel that he had accomplished a practical good. He knew that much inconvenience arose in Ireland in consequence of non-residents being allowed to vote; and it was on those grounds that he wished for their exclusion.

NON-RESIDENT BURGESSES IN IRELAND.] Sir John Newport rose, to move for leave to bring in a bill to repeal the act of 21 Geo. 2nd, chap. 10, sec. 8 (Irish statutes), commonly called the Newtown act. In that act there was a clause for regulating the election of members of parliament in Ireland, in which it was provided, that in any borough or town corporate, not being a city, in which a num-quence of the privilege enjoyed by nonber of resident Protestants, sufficient for the purposes of that act, did not exist, the right of voting should be extended to, and exercised by Protestants non-resident therein. In the year 1780, by a most beneficial statute, one of the clauses of this act was utterly done away with. By a strange misconception the Test act was still supposed to be in force in Ireland; and he remembered, in the year 1810, that one of the cabinet ministers had told him, that his principal objection to Catholic emancipation was the Test act, although that act had been done away with in the year 1793, just seventeen years before. In the year 1793, the legislature, acting on a more liberal scale of policy with respect to the interests of Ireland than had been formerly adopted, repealed many of the laws that shackled the energies of the country, and, among others, the law was repealed by which Catholics were prevented from voting at elections for the return of members to serve in parliament. By this measure the Catholic freeholders of Ireland were allowed to participate in the privileges enjoyed by their Protestant fellow-subjects. Much had certainly been done for Ireland by the repeal of obnoxious statutes; but much remained to do before the Statute-book could be freed from many existing laws (the remnants

Mr. Goulburn said, he was sure that it was quite unnecessary for the right hon. baronet to disclaim interested motives, in bringing forward the present motion. He of all other men would be the last on whom an imputation of the kind would fairly rest. Yet, while he fully acquitted him of interested motives, he could not concur with him in the views which he had taken on the subject under consideration. He did not conceive that the measure proposed would be attended with the benefits which were anticipated. On the contrary, he foresaw considerable inconvenience in it. The proposition of the right hon. baronet rested on one single

Mr. Spring Rice supported the motion of his right hon. friend. He thought the right hon. secretary for Ireland had misstated both the fact and the law.

ground; namely, that the statute sought | there be a more unwise step than to deto be repealed having passed eighty years prive the present non-residents of the ago, was unnecessary now, inasmuch as privilege which they had heretofore enthe reasons which were stated in the joyed? The question was one of great preamble had ceased to exist, and the act importance. It was not one that involved was no longer applicable. This was the but little. It involved a great deal, and ground on which the right hon. baronet it required the gravest deliberation of the took his stand in proposing the present House. Under all the circumstances, he motion; but might it not occur, that al- was forced to oppose the motion. though the causes which led to an enactment might have ceased, the provisions of that enactment being wise and wholesome, should still continue? It was clearly no argument in favour of the abolition of a Mr. Plunkett said, he should not dislaw, that its application was not imme- charge his duty by giving a silent vote diately felt. The simple question for upon the present occasion; the more esconsideration was, whether non-resident pecially as he felt himself bound to oppose voters who had for eighty years exercised the motion. He did not believe that his the right of voting in boroughs and corpo- right hon. friend had been guilty of rate towns, should cease to enjoy that any mis-statement, either in point of fact privilege. Now this was a question which or of law. The question here was not be involved a great deal; for it did not relate tween the charters, which required resisolely to Ireland, but the effects of the dence, and the 21st Geo. 2nd, which disproposed measure would also extend to pensed with residence, but it was a quesEngland. And, was the House prepared tion between the act of Henry 7th, and to adopt such a change in the elective the act of the 21st of Geo. 2nd. The act franchise of this country? The House of Henry 7th required, that all freemen of was called upon to take measures for ex- cities and great towns should be residents; cluding non-residents from voting at elec- and the charters applied the provisions of tions, both here and in Ireland; but, look- that act to all boroughs; but the inconing to the circumstances on all sides, and venience was so great, that the legislature the difficulties by which the measure was felt it necessary to do away with a resurrounded, the statute should not, he striction which, in their opinion at least, thought, be repealed. At the time of the was unconstitutional; for the provision in passing of this law, persons of the first re- the charters which, by the measure now spectability resided in those places in proposed, it was intended to confirm, was which the elective franchise was exercised; not an extension, but a restriction of the but in time, from the change inseparable elective franchise. He did not hesitate to from the condition of man, it naturally say, that many of the charters of James occurred, that persons wishing to reside 1st were not, to say the least of them, elsewhere, betook themselves to distant favourable to the principles of the constiprovinces. It was therefore that the act tution; for in several of them the principle of Geo. 2nd was passed, and its effects were of restriction was applied to the elected as found to answer every object which the well as to the elector, and, in more cases legislature had in view. With this im- than one, such restriction had been held pression of its practical results, it would to be unconstitutional. He did not mean be wrong to repeal this law. But there now to discuss that principle, but it was were still stronger reasons for opposing sufficient for his purpose, that the legis the motion. The House should look to lature, in the time of George 2nd, had the consequences that would follow if this thought fit to repeal that restriction, as it law were repealed. The act declared, applied to boroughs and corporate towns, that all non-resident electors should have and that that act had remained in force a vote. Now, if the majority of persons now nearly seventy years. The measure entitled to vote should happen to be non- now proposed was not prospective, but, residents, what would be the effect of the onthe contrary, would have a retrospective right hon. baronet's proposition? It operation, and would bear upon individuals would be this-that there would scarcely who had for years been in possession of be a single person to vote for the return the elective franchise. The act of George of members to serve in the next parlia. 2nd declared that no person elected to, ment. Under these circumstances, could or voting for, a candidate for any office in VOL. XIV. 4 L


any borough or town corporate in Ireland, should be impeached for non-residence, and therefore the consequence of repealing that act would be to impeach persons who were not non-resident. It might be said, that persons who had enjoyed the franchise for a certain number of years could not be impeached. That was true; but it was equally true, that persons who had not enjoyed the franchise for that number of years would not be protected. He was not prepared to state what number of persons had been in possession of the elective franchise for years, and were therefore impeachable; but the House would pause, now that they were approaching to the period of the natural dissolution of that House, before they agreed to the passing of such a measure as that now contemplated, without having first ascertained the number of persons who would fall within its operation. As those persons had been admitted to enjoy this privilege for seventy years, there could be no objection to allowing them to enjoy it for seventy-one years. He thought the right hon. baronet ought, under the present circumstances, to wait for a new session of parliament for the introduction of such a measure. The consequence of this repeal might, for aught the House knew, be the disfranchisement of whole corporations. The motion of the right hon. gentleman went to repeal an act passed forty years previous to the Union of Ireland with this country. Now, at the time of the Union, in 1800, when a selection was made of the boroughs which ought to continue to send members to the united parliament, that selection was calculated upon the principle of the number of electors entitled to vote, compared with the state and condition of the numbers in those towns. He should, therefore, oppose this motion; first, as a measure of general policy, which went to narrow the elective franchise; and, secondly, because he thought it would be an act of injustice to open again an arrangement made at the period of the Union. It had been said, that a similar bill had been brought in upon a former occasion, and thrown out upon the second reading. That circumstance was, in his opinion, an argument against, rather than in favour of the motion; and he should, instead of waiting to vote against the bill, upon the second reading, take the preliminary step of opposing the introduction of it.

Mr. R. Martin ventured to remind the right hon. secretary for Ireland of the his

tory of the act of George 2nd, which was the most disgraceful that ever took place in the Irish parliament. That act was procured by a person possessed of great influence in the Irish parliament, who was generally known by the name of Jack Promise, who exchanged a borough in the west, for a borough in the north, of Ireland. In the borough of Newtown Limavady, which Jack Promise got in swap for the other borough, he found that he could not conveniently manage the resident Protestant voters, and that it would be better if he could extend the franchise to his own ser◄ vants and followers; and he therefore procured the sanction of the Irish parliament to the 21st Geo. 2nd; but in order to screen his object from the eyes of the public, he made the words of the act general. The right hon. baronet was entitled to the thanks of the House and the country. He ought not to be told that he did wrong to introduce it, because of its retrospective effects. But might not that difficulty be got over by the insertion of a clause to save existing rights? If the bill were allowed to go into a committee, a clause to that effect might be inserted. "Let us wait," said the attorney-general for Ireland, "until the general election." The act should be repealed now, and the new bill need not come into operation until the election would be over. This course would surely satisfy the right hon. and learned gentleman. As interested motives had been hinted at, he begged distinctly to state, that he was not actuated by such motives. It was sixty or seventy years since the Galway case came before the courts of law. In the erroneous court, or rather the court of error-perhaps one term was as applicable as the other-it was determined, that that act had nothing whatever to do with Galway, He gave the motion his hearty concurrence. The only reasonable argument advanced against it was, that it interfered with existing rights; but that might be guarded against by a proviso of the nature to which he had alluded. This might be called "petty legislation." Some gentlemen seemed partial to that phrase. It had been applied to himself in advocating some of the measures which he had lately had the honour to introduce. But he, for one, did not think it petty legislation to prevent the recurrence of the cutting out of the tongue of a poor dumb beast, and sending it round on a plate, while it was yet quivering and reeking. Gentlemen might laugh and

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