House of Commons.–June 19.
The Speaker took the Chair at a few minutes before four o’clock, and was shortly afterwards summoned by the Deputy Usher of the Black Rod, to attend the House of Lords.
The Speaker stated, on his return, that the Royal Assent had been given by Commission to several public and private bills.
Mr C. Dundas presented a petition from Newbury, in the county of Berks, praying for the abolition of slavery in the West Indies.
Mr Planta moved for a new writ for the election of a member to serve in Parliament, in the room of Lord Leveson Gower, who had accepted the office of ChiefSecretary for Ireland.–Ordered.
Ale-House Licensing Bill.
On the motion of Mr Estcourt, the house resolved itself into a committee on this bill.
On the clause that no brewer who should himself supply public houses with beer, should be allowed to act or assist as a Magistrate at any meeting or session for the granting of licenses,
Mr Bernal moved that this clause be struck out altogether.
Mr R. Gordon supported the clause.
Mr Monck thought this the most valuable clause in the bill, and that it was no infringemnt, but a salutary interference with the jurisdiction of borough magistrates.
Strangers were ordered to withdraw, and the committee divided, when there were–Ayes 46–Noes 53– Majority against the clause 7.
Several amendments, verbal and otherwise, were then agreed to, amongst which was the omission of the words ” Cinque Ports,” thus excluding that class of places from the operation of the bill. On the clause being proposed relative to the hours during which public houses should be kept open on Sundays.
Mr Estcourt said, the original clause was to the effect that public-houses should be closed during the hours of morning and afternoon’s divine service, but he thought it would be better not to permit publicans to allow drinking or tippling on their premises till after the usual hour of the conclusion of morning service (one o’clock.)
After a conversation, in which several hon. members participated, the clause was agreed to.
Several other clauses having been then read and agreed to, the house resumed ; the report was brought up, ordered to be taken into further consideration on Monday next, and printed.
The Usury Laws.
Mr P. Thompson moved the second reading of the usury laws amendment bill.
Mr Davenport said he should oppose the bill, as he considered it to be highly injurious both to the landed and commercial interests. The hon. members moved an amendment, that the bill be read a second time that day three months.
The question on th amendment having been put,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested the propriety of postponing this bill until the next session of parliament. He made this suggestion from no unfriendly feeling towards the bill, but merely because this was not, he conceived, the most convenient time to consider it. The subject ought to be fully considered, with a view to get rid of evils that existed, without interfering with long-continued prejudices. If the discussion were postponed he would give the subject the best attention in his, ( hear.)
Mr Heathcote approved of the suggestion of the right hon. gentleman, and wished the discussion on the question to be postponed till the next session of parliament.
Mr L. Foster thought that, between the total repeal, or the continued existence of the Usury Laws, in their present shape, a middle course might be steered. Of the bill before the house he thought that, under the guise of a simple enactment, it covered one of the greatest illusion ever held forth to Parliament or the country, for he was convinced that it would effect as complete and as practicable a repeal of the usury laws as could be proposed. It became necessary, therefore, to consider the probable operation of that repeal upon all the great interest of the country. The bill might give relief to few, but would bring injury to many.
Lord Palmerston thought the house indebted to the hon. member for Dover for bringing in the bill. It might be possible to form a bill better than that of the hon. member, but his bill was better than the present law, and as such he should vote for it.
The gallery was then cleared, and the house divided, when there appeared for the second reading,–Ayes, 52; Noes, 40 : majority in favour of the second reading, 12.
Voters’ Registration Bill.
Lord Nugent moved the second reading of the voters’ registration bill, and said that his object in carrying it through the present stage was, that the bill might be committed pro forma, for the purpose of having certain amendment introduced into it. It would then be printed with its amendments, in order that the house and the country might have the opportunity of considering its details between this and the next session of Parliament.
Sir R. Wilson moved, as an amendment, that the bill might be read a second time that day six months.
Mr H. Gurney seconded the amendment.
The question was then put on the amendment, which was agreed to, and the bill was ordered to be read a second time this day six months.
Salmon Fisheries Preservation Bill.
On the motion of the Chancellor of Exche- quer, the house resolved itself into a committee on the salmon fisheries preservation bill.
Mr Ferguson proposed the insertion of a clause, exempting from the operation of the bill the salmon fisheries in the River and Bay of Thurso, in the county of Caithness, which are the exclusive property of Sir John Sinclair.
After some conversation the gallery was cleared, and the committee divided, when the clause was lost.
The bill having passed through the committee, the report was ordered to be received this day.
The other orders were then disposed of, and the house adjourned at half-past two o’clock.
Friday, June 20.
Sir G. Murray took the oaths and his seat, on his re-election for the county of Perth.
A number of petitions were presented against the continuance of Negreo Slavery.
Sir G. Hill presented a petition from the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Londonderry, praying that the bill for amending the laws relating to Banks in Ireland might not be allowed to make further progress for the present. The petition was laid on the table.
Sir A. Chichester presented a petition from Belfast, praying a reduction of the duty on coals in Ireland, which was laid upon the table.
Scotch Gaols’ Bill.
The Lord Advocate, in moving that this bill be read a second time and printed, observed, that it was not his intention to press it further during the present Session. No man could, however, deny that the object of the Bill was of great importance, and he proposed, therefore, to have its provisions made generally known throughout the country, in order that it might be again presented to the house in as perfect a shape as possible.
The bill was then read a second time, and ordered to be printed.
Committee of Supply.
In the committee of supply, a number of grants of minor importance were agreed to.
Sir H. Hardinge said, he had another resolution to propose, but it was in which he expected that a reduction would be made next year. It was, that a sum of L283,199, 8s 1d be granted for the expenses of the disembodied[?] militia of the united kingdom.
Mr Spring Rice said, that within the last twelve years there had been two millions and a half expended on this body, and that the subject was one which few gentlemen took the trouble to look at. He begged to say a word upon the Irish militia. There the whole of the staff, which was larger than that of England, was without a private man. Nothing could a more outrageous job than that of the milita in Ireland. The colonels kept the whole patronage of the regiment, and kept up the bands for the amusemen of themselves and friends. The militia might have been of service at one time in Ireland ; but since that time the present effective police had been established, and quite superseded it. He trusted Ministers would not suffer this to remain if they really wished to be economical, and curtail, if not abolish it.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer begged to assure his hon. friend that he wanted no prompting to make any economical reduction. When, however, a plan for the reduction of the staff was ready, and it was in contemplation, it would be laid before Parliament, and he should then be the friend of the definite and limited powers to which he had alluded.
Mr Hume said, the militia had been defended as though the country were in hourly danger of invasion –as if the country could be taken by surprise. If that were so, he would gladly learn of what use were the spies, who cost us L450,000 a-year. We had ambassadors–they were very little better than spies–at an expense of L450,00a-year ; and if their cautious observance were not sufficient to save the country from sudden invasion, he knew no better means, and he certainly knew no other advantage which ambassadors and consuls could be of.
New South Wales Bill–Committee.
On the order of the day having been read for the house resolving itself into committee on the New South Wales bill.
Mr Huskisson moved that the Speaker do leave the chair.
Sir J. Mackintosh said, the object of his present motion, of which he had previously given notice, was, to propose two instruction to the committee on the bill which the right hon. gentleman (Mr Huskisson) had introduced–first, to the effect that the committee should recommend the introduction of a clause for the establishment of a trial by jury in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land; and secondly, that it should recommend that a clause be introduced, providing for the election of one-third of the Legislative Council from among persons enjoying an income of L100 a year, and having been free inhabitants of the colonies for the space[?] of three years. The best local authories in favour of his proposition. Among these he might mention the names of Governor Hunter, Governor Bligh, Mr Bent, the Judge Advocate, Governor Macquarrie, and his successor Sir Thomas Brisbane, who had gone out to the colony prejudiced against the introduction into it of these institutions ; but, after two years careful investigation of the subject, wrote home in Oct. 1825, stating, that there was now no longer any doubt about its perfect ripeness for them.–( Hear, hear.)– The partial introduction of English institutions into immediate practise was the only pledge of a real intention on the part of government to introduce them more completely in the end. The right hon. gent. concluded by moving that instruction be given to the committee to recommend the introduction of Trial by Jury into the colony, and to allow the inhabitants a voice in the legislative councils.
Mr Huskisson said, in the bill which he had introduced, it was intended to extend the privilege to the government of the country of granting trial by jury in all civil cases. His right hon. friend would find, if he examined, that the foundation would be laid of granting the inhabitants of that colony a share in managing their own concerns. At present the legislature proposed, by way of a first step, to appoint a legislative committee for the purpose of watching and controuling every measure of the state. All trials should be public, under the inspection of a free press, and a population jealous of their rights. They should now be prepared in the course of a few years for the regular introduction of a legislative assembly ; not had he any fears when such a change should take place, that it would lead to any political convulsion.
Mr Hume had every reason to believe, that if, instead of inflicting a military governemtn, they would introduce a portion of representation and the privileges of British subjects into New South Wales, it would be the most flourishing of the colonies.
Mr Horace Twiss said, the knowledge of one fact might obviate the necessity for one at least of the right hon. gent.’s propsitions, namely, that the governor of the colony had the power of extending to the colonists the right of trial by jury if he should deem it expedient.
Sir James Mackintosh here intimated that he should not press his amendments. They were accordingly negatived.
The house then resolved itself into the Committee when several verbal amendments were proposed and agreed to.
The bill then went through the committee, and the report, with the amendments, was ordered to be brought up on Monday.
The other orders of the day were then disposed of, and the house adjourned at half-past two o’clock.
Citation: Scotsman (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), 25 June 1828, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/208.