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Mr. Goulburn complained of the delay | remedies to detected delinquency. Those of the bill on this subject. He had voted who were of that opinion were perfectly for the suspension of the writ, in conse- consistent in opposing the present Motion, quence of the report of the Committce, but he would declare, that the man was a under the understanding that the bill was feeble or suspicious Reformer who could to be proceeded with. Being placed in maintain, that the only method of purifysuch circumstances, he could not do other- ing that House was by the detection of wise than vote for the Amendment, though occasional impurities, in the hope that, he thought it extremely hard on Liverpool probably in a century or two, a few such to be so long deprived of one Repre- cases would be proved against certain bosentative. roughs. From what the House had already seen of such attempts at reformation they might judge of their practical utility. It was proved that the constituency of Liverpool had been detected in the most extraordinary wholesale bribery. A more corrupt set of burgesses could not be found. It was to correct such delinquencies to give a wholesome rule of correction, and prevent such practices for the future, that the late Reform Bill had been passed through that House by triumphant majori ties. That Bill he had supported, but he had ever opposed himself to partial and hypocritical Reforms like the purification of Liverpool because he would not sanction a different measure of justice to be dealt out to constituents and patrons, punishing the former for receiving a given sum of money in detail, and allowing the same amount to be given to the patron of a borough in one whole sum. A noble Lord or Jew speculator who put 5,000/., as the price of a Member returned by him. to that House, into his pocket, was engaged in a more odious and profligate transaction than the electors who were bribed, and had not the redeeming apology of poverty to plead an apology that might generally be urged in favour of those who received small sums for their votes. These, however, were the persons selected for punishment, and this selection of persons it was, that made the present a question of principle. Whether the House issued the writ for a second Member to be returned for Liverpool was comparatively of small importance, but the hostility to the measure, and the principle on which it was founded, was of great importance, as from it arose the question, whether the House ought to prosecute a general Reform, which would abrogate corrupt boroughs by wholesale, or only deal with those which were so unfortunate as to be detected in delinquency. That principle he most fully objected to, for it was the principle of those who wished to canonize a system of nomination. It was

Lord Althorp said, it was not fair, because the bill could not be proceeded with in the present Session, that that should prevent Liverpool from returning one of its Members. He admitted there was a difficulty in sending a writ to a constituency proved to be corrupt; but he thought that was not a sufficient reason for refusing to issue a writ, which would prevent Liverpool having its due share of Representation in the House.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson could not consent, whilst the constituency of Liverpool remained so corrupt as it had been described by a Committee of that House, to issue a writ for a Representative. He should vote for the Amendment.

Sir Richard Vyvyan was of opinion that the House had no right to suspend the writ over the prorogation. Such a place as Liverpool ought to be fully represented in Parliament, and the present vacancy was occasioned by accident only.

Lord Ingestrie said, he should oppose issuing the writ, because bribery had been distinctly and fully proved against the majority of the freemen of Liverpool. Rather than that place should suffer from the want of a Representative in consequence, he was ready to offer any services in his power.

Sir George Warrender had refused to vote for the issue of the writ for East Retford for three years, and for the sake of consistency, therefore, he must vote against the issue of the writ for Liverpool: the corruption at Liverpool had been very great.

Mr. Hunt declared he would vote against the issue of the writ. This Motion would show the Reformers in that House in their proper colours to the public.

Mr. Daniel Whittle Harvey said, that this was not an isolated question, but a question of principle. The opposition to the issuing of the writ was founded on the principle, that the only Reform that was necessary was the application of adequate

a principle well understood by the country as hypocritical in its pretences, and subversive of real Reform. Upon these grounds he was prepared to support the issuing of the writ.

port the issue of the writ. There would be questions of great importance in the ensuing Session, involving the interests of Liverpool, which rendered it essentially necessary that that place should have the benefit of full Representation by persons of experience. He trusted the House would permit him to say a few words upon the remarks made by several hon. Members who had opposed the Motion, among others his hon. friend, the member for Honiton (Sir George Warrender), had cast a stone at the electors of Liverpoool. The borough his hon. friend represented had the credit of not being one of the purest, for he remembered when Lord Cochrane had declared in that House, after being elected for that borough, that he had sent the bellman round the town with a notice that every voter might come and receive 57. He saw the House was extremely impatient to come to a decision, and he would detain them no further than by saying, he hoped they would reverse their former vote as the present circumstances were so different.

The House divided on the Original Motion, Ayes 93; Noes 67-Majority 26. Writ ordered to be issued accordingly.

Mr. Wrangham wondered how any man could vote for this Motion. He could not consent to give to a corrupt body—a body infamously corrupt-a right to return a Member to Parliament. He looked with dread to the measure for altering the whole system of Representation, but he would never hesitate to apply a remedy where the guilt of corruption was brought home to the parties. The hon. Gentleman who had last addressed the House had endeavoured to mislead it. He had asked, how could any hon. Gentleman defend 50007. being given to one individual for a seat in that House, and yet object to the freemen of Liverpool receiving that sum among them, divided into small portions, for the exercise of their rights. Without pretending to answer that question he (Mr. Wrangham) would declare, that if the hon. Member would prove that any person had received 5,000l. for a seat in Parliament by the same evidence as the guilt had been proved against the freemen of Liverpool, he would vote against any writ being again issued to the place so circumstanced. It had been urged as a reason for the House now issuing a writ to Liverpool, that, at an earlier period of the Session there was a Bill before the House to amend the Representation in general, and that prevented the hon. member for Wiltshire from proceeding with his bill relating to Liverpool alone: but the Reform Bill was now disposed of, and the hon. Member was ready to proceed, when he was met by being told an adjournment was at hand. They had now to consider how their position was altered by this aunouncement. The House had already twice decided that the electors of Liverpool were unworthy to exercise their franchise, and coupling that with the pledge the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) had given that the writ should not issue until the hon. member for Wiltshire had had an opportunity of purifying the constituency, would not the House stultify its own proceedings by now agreeing to the original Motion?

Mr. Granville Vernon said, he had heard no arguments to convince him that it was right to leave 5,000 persons unrepresented. On the principle of virtual Representation all the Members ought to sup

BANKRUPTCY COURT BILL-COMMITTEE SECOND DAY.] The Solicitor General moved, that the House go into a Committee on the Bankruptcy Court Bill.

Mr. Warburton said, he was of opinion that an alteration in the present system of Commissioners was necessary, but he thought the present Bill required many alterations and modifications which there was not now time to make with so much minuteness and care as the importance of the subject demanded. In the first place, he thought the fees to be paid under the Bill were much higher than they ought to be. After comparing their amount with those connected with the present system, he had come to the conclusion, without fatiguing the House with the details, that the expenses of the new Bill would be greater in the proportion of forty-five to thirty-six than those attached to the existing methods of managing a bankrupt's estate. Another great objection to the Bill he considered to be, the appointment of four Judges instead of one, and he was borne out in this opinion by the high authority of the late Sir Samuel Romilly, who had declared that one Judge in bankruptcy cases was sufficient; an

investigation-to have an efficient Court, and there were no facts before the House calculated to show that there was any chance of the accomplishment of such an object by the instrumentality of the measure they were now considering.

Mr. John Smith regretted exceedingly that his hon. friend (Mr. Warburton) had found it necessary to oppose the Bill, for he knew that the hon. Member invariably acted upon his conscientious opinion upon every subject. He anticipated no such expense from the breaking up of the present system as seemed to be apprehended, and he knew from a long practical expe

increased number led to inattention in the whole. He feared, therefore, the expenses attending the appointment of these four Judges would be worse than thrown away. In any alteration that was to be made, patronage should be avoided. He fully exonerated the noble and learned Lord with whom the Bill originated, from any desire to increase his patronage thereby, but he should prefer that the number of Commissioners should be increased by three, with but one Judge, which would form an additional number to act in times of commercial distress, when the amount of duty would be materially augmented. He was also of opinion, that the expenses of ap-rience, that the change which must be produced by the Bill would be of the most beneficial nature. One of the most fruitful sources of litigation was the proof of a debt under a Commission by the {present system, and his hon. friend proposed that to be continued, as preferable to the improved method now under review. He could assure his hon. friend, that the difficulties and delays of appeal in such instances were so great, that creditors were disposed to put up with severe loss rather than appeal at all. A Court of Review would obviate that evil, it was to be sitting throughout the year, and therefore, there was a necessity for more than one Judge. A suit would be decided in a few days instead of lasting as many months. Independent of this, but with all deference to the opinion of his hon. friend he had no hesitation to declare that he should prefer the opinion of two or three sensible and judicious lawyers to the authority of one, and he believed from a Court so constituted there would be few or no appeals. Those who were to act under the Bill could have no motive for an improper decision. His hon. friend was not, perhaps, although extensively engaged in commercial matters, practically experienced in those which unfortunately terminated in Commissions of Bankrupt. He (Mr. John Smith) had had a long experience of things of the kind, and he could not help declaring that no language which he could use could adequately express his detestation of the mode of decision in use amongst the seventy Commissioners. The word "execration," more accurately than any other, expressed the sentiments of commercial men as to the existing state of the Bankrupt-laws. He really believed that, in nine cases out of ten, bankrupts' cases were not thoroughly inquired into. A man who had seen the

ex

peals would be materially increased, and
their number augmented. By the existing
system one or two appeals were all that
could be had, but by the proposed ar-
rangement there might be four: the first
from the Commissioners to the Subdivision
Court; the second from the Commission-
ers of the Subdivision Court, to the
Court of Review; a third from the Court
of Review to the Lord Chancellor; and
a fourth from the Lord Chancellor
the House of Lords. With every de-
sire to accede to every real improve-
ment in the bankrupt-laws, he feared
the plan before them could not be con-
sidered such. Instead of effecting any
Reform in the expense of this branch
of the legislation, the proposed system
would be found to be much more
pensive. Instead of giving credit to the
statements of individuals upon so serious
a 'question, the House ought to appoint a
Committee, before which professional men
might be examined touching its merits.
As to the argument that the law would be
made either cheap or expeditious by the
Bill, that was, in his opinion, altogether a
fallacy. If the Bill should not be carried
during the present Session, it was his de-
termination to move, at a future time,
that the subject be referred to a Com-
mittee [a cry of "move, move."] He
would have no objection to move for the
appointment of a Committee, if the pro-
position would not be considered as a
mode of getting rid of the Bill, but it
would, and with the views he enter-
tained upon the question of the Bankrupt-
laws, that would not be a fair way of
meeting the question. He certainly hoped
that the Bill would not pass, but he must
decline the adoption of such means of de-
feating it. His object was, to have a fair

working of the system said, on being concerned in such a case, "I will take things as they come, without giving myself any further trouble to inquire, for I am sure, to do so will only be attended with loss of time, trouble, and expense." Even in the case of Howard and Gibbs, bad and contemptible as that case was, if the affairs of the bankrupts had been properly investigated and managed before the Commissioners, there would, he most conscientiously believed, have been a surplus at the winding up; and Howard would not now be, as he actually was, languishing in poverty. Immense sums of money were expended in working that Commission. Hundreds of meetings were held, and law suit followed law suit without end. He had been called to à meeting of the creditors of that firm, with many other unfortunate and interested persons; when the Solicitor to the Commission said " Gentlemen, a certain person owes the estate a large sum of money, and the only remedy you have is to file a bill against him." This was judged, after much discussion, so expensive a remedy, that the creditors declined to prosecute the claim. He had strong reasons for believing that there were, to say the least of it, very frequently a connivance, not to say a conspiracy, between the solicitors, the petitioning creditors, the accountants, and the bankrupts. He did not think it necessary here to enter upon the subject of country Commissions, that fertile source of fraud; but he must be permitted to remark, that it was necessary that a bankrupt ought to have his certificate if he had acted honestly and fairly, and given up his property so as to satisfy his creditors in the best manner circumstances would permit ; but if he had acted nefariously or improperly, there was no doubt a certificate ought to be withheld. In some cases whatever the opinions of the creditors might be, the certificate ought never to be granted, particularly as was often the case when the bankrupt happened to be a complete and notorious blackguard. He would give one instance of the fact:-a vulgar, ignorant young man, whom he might very well call a blackguard, happened to become a bankrupt, and he (Mr. John Smith) happened to be a creditor. The bankrupt was very obstinate in withholding facts in his statement before the Commissioners, and it was a difficult matter to get from him an acknowledgment of what he had done

with certain property, which, according to his books, he had received, to the amount of 17,000l. At last he admitted that he had spent it all in the following manner:-"Why," said he, "I kepta carriage for my mother in town, and I kept one woman at Brighton, and another at Hampstead, and I had two children by the latter to keep, and I kept a house in town." In short, the fellow confessed that he squandered the money away. Now he never entertained a notion of signing the certificate of such a man; but the fellow got his certificate notwithstanding, and very soon too; and the Commissioners said, in answer to an appeal made to them upon the subject, "What can we do? We can't help it. He has told us the truth." The fellow soon afterwards recommenced business, and had it in his power to pursue a similar course of plunder. Now it would be most desirable to prevent blackguards of that description from obtaining additional facilities, and practising similar frauds, and he did hope the establishment of efficient Commissioners, under a Court of Review, would effectually check such fraudulent practices. A great deal had been said about the expense resulting from the new measure, and the dissatisfaction with which the public were likely to view that expense; but he knew it to be a fact that the public would think very little of expense if they could get the affairs of bankrupts equitably managed, and speedily and satisfactorily settled. They were willing to pay for substantial justice, and substantial justice they could not have if the present system, or any part of it, were allowed to continue. His hon. friend had suggested a Committee up-stairs, and the examination of professional men. He (Mr. John Smith) had sat in the Chair above stairs upon the very subject, and he had had the assistance of the ablest men; but he could not boast of the progress that was made. As to the examination of professional men, it should be considered that the Bill would go to deprive a number of gentlemen of that description of their profits; and it was very natural to expect from most of them a decided opposition to the measure. He the more firmly relied upon the Bill, as it was the production of the great mind of the most extraordinary man in the countryof the man possessing the highest powers and the most intense desire to do good to his country.

Mr. Freshfield, having been referred to | ditors might be from day to day. But in the course of the debate, felt it neces- supposing that the more natural course sary to make a few remarks upon the ma- was followed, according to the usual pracchinery of the Bill now before them, which tice of the Court of Chancery, that each he was convinced was so defective that dividend was to be paid by the authority the Bill ought not to be passed in its pre- of the Accountant-general, that officer sent state. He was satisfied, that no Com- would take no responsibility, and it would mission of any magnitude could be worked be necessary to identify the creditors by with such machinery as was proposed by the presence of the solicitor to the Comit, under the superintendance of an of- mission, whose fee for attendance would ficial assignee whose duty it appeared was, probably make a large deduction from the to collect as quickly as possible the assets amount of the dividend. Another objecof the bankrupt, and pay them forthwith tion to the Bill was, the amount of the into the Bank. But all persons conversant per centage to be paid to these official aswith the business of bankruptcies well signees. It frequently occurred, particuknew, particularly those which were con- larly in West-India bankruptcies that the nected with colonial property, that the aggregate amount of assets was 400,000l. very first and necessary object of the assignee or 500,000Z.,was an official assignee to have was, to obtain funds, not to distribute a large per-centage upon this immense among the creditors, but to work the sum? It even appeared by the wording Commission. It would be necessary to of the Bill as if they were to have a per send out means procure the foreign as- centage upon the gross assets, without resets to be remitted, but under the proposed ference to any deductions, while the proper Bill, this necessary preliminary could only arrangement undoubtedly ought to be, to be obtained by an application to the Court make the per-centage of the official asof Chancery, for the official assignee was signee depend on the sums obtained by bound to pay all the funds, as they were the creditors, so as to make the interest of received, into the Bank. It might also be both parties the same. If the official asfound difficult to persuade that Court that signee was to be entitled to his per cenit was necessary to remit 10,000l., or per- tage on the gross sum, and the creditors haps a larger sum, to the West Indies, for received their dividends, of course, only on instance,on the chance of procuring a crop, the nett, it might happen that the differworth much more, from the estate of a bank-ence between the two sums would be exrupt situated in one of the colonies, and tremely large, and there could be no check even if the application succeeded, it could upon the expenses of working the Comonly be successful after much delay and mission. It was his most full and deexpense. Another objection was, as to the liberate opinion that the Bill had been payment of dividends to creditors. Their concocted with too much haste, that many first and great object of course was, to ob- of its arrangements were crude and imtain a division of the funds of the estate, perfect, and although he was well aware which had been paid into the Bank by the that there were errors and imperfections in agency of the official assignce, and how the existing system, yet it did not follow, were the persons interested to obtain this if these could be cured by an alteration money for distribution? Was it meant of the whole arrangements, that those althat a given sum should be issued at the terations could be made at once and offdiscretion of the official assignee, or that hand without the alterations themselves the whole assets were to be handed over being liable to many objections. He was of to the other assignees by him for such opinion, therefore, with the hon. member purpose of distribution? If the last plan for Bridport, that it was adviseable this Bill was to be the method, then the great dan- should be referred to a Select Committee, ger of the present system would be con- who might improve it and make it pertinued, for the assignees would have the fect if possible. management of the fund, and the creditors had no security against fraud or failure. If, to prevent the chance of these losses, the first plan was pursued, and a given sum issued, then the impossible case must be supposed of the official assignee knowing what the demands of the various cre

Mr. Hunt hoped that the Ministers would not press a Bill of this consequence at the advanced period of the Session. It would be an expensive measure, and he for one could not see what benefit the suitor would derive from it. It was understood that Sir John Bayley was to be the

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