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utter ignorance of the Bill itself, that any who will, perhaps be more suitable than such idea can prevail-for, in place of my the Lord Mayor and Aldermen-shall be creating any such patronage, the Bill ab-intrusted with the disposal of them without solutely reduces places now worth 35,000l. my interference or control. It is also said, to a sum between 17,000l. and 18,000l. that I set great store by the Bill, and That, my Lords, is the kind of patronage am very anxious that it should pass, but I take care to secure for myself out of an that my colleagues in the Administraoffice which has hitherto enabled the per- tion are against it. Now I speak in the sons holding the Great Seal to provide for presence of my noble friend at the head the several members of their families, and of his Majesty's Government-certainly out of which the family of Lord Thurlow a most insignificant sort of person in have been in possession of great ad- the Administration-and in the presence vantages, having held a a sinecure of of my noble friend the Secretary of State 10,000l. per annum for nearly half a cen- for the Home Department-certainly tury. All of that, my Lords, I have abso- another most insignificant personage in lutely relinquished; so that if any person Administration; yet in the presence of who ever held the Great Seal is liable to those two most influential of my colleagues be charged with a love of patronage and do I speak it-and I put it to them if, a close adherence to the advantages of his since I commenced these Law Reforms, I place, I think I am not the person. I have not explained each of the measures have further to observe, my Lords, that I proposed to introduce personally to them? several of my predecessors in the office of I ask them if, besides my communicaLord Chancellor have been enabled to tions in the Cabinet, I have not gone into bestow places upon their connexions and the explanation of each measure separately, relatives of 3,000l. or 4,000l. a-year; this and in private, both of the principle and also I have not done. It has also been said, the minutest details? And I also ask them, my Lords, that I as the Chancellor wish to if I have ever met their disapprobation, have a hold over the bar; but I think very and if I have not altered one or two points little of any such consideration. I wish, at their suggestion? Because, though I of course, to give satisfaction to the Bar; am the only professional man in the but my great object is, to give satisfaction Cabinet, I do not wish to stand up too to the suitors of the Court; and if I suc- much for my own opinion: and I put it to ceed in doing that, it will be the only hold my noble friends, before your Lordships, which I desire to have on the Court of if one single tittle contained in these Bills Chancery. The system of the Bankrupt- has not met the entire and cordial conlaws, which the Bill I introduced seeks to currence of his Majesty's Government? get rid of, certainly gave the Lord Chan- [Hear, from Earl Grey.] I did not mencellor a hold on the Bar by the disposal tion to my noble friends that I should of seventy places, which he could dispense make any statement of this nature; but as he pleased to young men, who had but having done so in their presence, I confijust drawn their gowns over their shoulders. dently appeal to them to support and conThat was a sort of patronage which was firm it. My Lords, it has been said, in constantly dropping in, and, for the few another place, that I am desirous of being months I have held the Seals, I have had as dictatorial a Chancellor as was Carno less than six such places at my dis- dinal Wolsey. To this I will only reply, posal; but, when the Bill passes, and after that I resemble him as much in my it is set into action, I do not expect to notions of British law, as I do in the rest have more than eight or ten places to give of my conduct and character, and just as away all together. And so little do I care much, and no more, than I do in my defor the patronage that the giving away of portment towards the Monarch whom I them will throw into my hands, that I as- have the honour to serve towards the sure you I shall be heartily glad if any colleagues with whom I am associatedperson will move, either in this or the and towards the people at large. I am other House of Parliament, that the Lord most anxious with regard to the passing Chancellor should have nothing to do with of this Bill. I do not deny it. I feel them; and I dont care if the Lord Mayor the strongest desire-a desire that I shall and Aldermen of the City of London, or not lose but with life-to have this Rethe benchers of any of the Inns of Court, form become part of the law of the land. or the Lords of his Majesty's Treasury- There is no sacrifice of private convenience,
ments of his office, under the operation of these Bills, in order that the Bankruptcy Court Bill should not be clogged; for my great object is, to carry this Bill into operation, and to promote that Reform of the Law which I will sacrifice all personal consideration to accomplish. I beg pardon, my Lords, for having intruded upon your time; but perhaps you will agree with me, that when a man has an explanation to make, however safe he may be in the hands of his friends, it is better that he should make it in his own person.
Petition to lie on the Table.
The Earl of Roden moved, that it be read that day six months. In proposing this Amendment, he begged leave to assure the noble Duke, that his opposition to the Bill did not arise from any remarks made by the noble Duke during the pro
exhausted as I am with incessant labour, that I will hesitate to make to advance it, and I look with confidence to its speedy and successful accomplishment. My Lords, to my infinite astonishment and mortification, I find, that in the opening of the Bankruptcy Court Bill elsewhere, a Budget accompanied it; making a provision for the Lord Chancellor for the loss of emolument and patronage it inflicts upon him. I assure you that was not done with my consent. I knew nothing of it. I only knew that a compensation was to be made for the family of Lord Thurlow, and for others whose rights were to be affected by the remodelling of the Court, but I had no idea that the Bill was to be clogged with any provision for the Lord Chancellor. I expect compensation, undoubtedly; I will not practise so much hypocrisy as to deny it; but I trust for that compensation to a future measure and to the justice of a future Parliament. Your Lordships are aware that I have brought down the salary of the Lord Chancellor from 16,000l. ayear to 8,000l., leaving it to the Legis-gress of the discussion, but from the nature lature to make up a suitable provision in the of the measure itself, which appeared to him manner it shall best think fit. Of course calculated materially to affect the rights I cannot afford to give up all that sum; of private property. He regretted that on and, if I could, my successors have a claim this account he was unable to support it, as to be considered, and I cannot be un- the Bill had been brought forward to furjust to them; but I left the arrangement nish employment to the poor of Ireland, for another Session, as I was anxious that who were very much in want of it, and for nothing which personally concerned me whose state he had the deepest sympathy. should clog the Bill in its progress. God To shew the effects of the Bill as it appeared forbid that I should not receive, or that to him, he would put a case hypothetically. I should prevent my successors from re- Suppose a man possessed a property worth ceiving, the just rewards attached to the 300l. a-year, and his tenants formed a Joint high office I at present fill. It is wholly Stock Company. They obtained a comunreasonable to expect that the Lord mission to proceed with their undertaking Chancellor shall have but 7,000l. or from the Lord Lieutenant; they then ap 8,000l. a-year, while the Chief Justice of plied to Government for money to proceed, the King's Bench has 10,000l., his office and all this might be done without the being for life, while the Lord Chancellor consent of the proprietor. The parties is only appointed during pleasure. I feel commence the work without reference to assured, however, that the justice and the owner, who may have opposed it, but wisdom of Parliament will not permit the whose land would become liable for the office of Lord Chancellor to be reduced in money borrowed, as the money would be emolument from 20,000l. to perhaps about advanced only on the security of such 7,500l. per annum, if it be only on the land. account of the policy of maintaining the Great Seal upon such a footing as to make it an object worthy of the ambition of lawyers in the very highest practice at the
At the same time I must repeat, that I postponed the consideration of the retiring pension for the Lord Chancellor, or, of the compensation which he should receive for the reduction of the emolu
EMBANKMENTS (IRELAND) BILL.] The Duke of Leinster moved the third reading of this Bill.
The Duke of Leinster said, such an undertaking could not be commenced without the consent of the great majority of the landed proprietors in the vicinity.
The Earl of Roden.-Well, then, suppose such a Joint Stock Company fails, who would then be responsible? He apprehended the land would be liable to Government.
The Marquis of Westmeath said, he pre- | New Member sworn. shire.
sumed the money would be secured in a manner which would obviate all difficulty, although he was ready to allow, the land might be ultimately liable, as was the case in all assessments of such a nature.
He should have wished to see the provisions of the Bill less complicated, but at the same time, he could overlook that defect, in the hope that it would tend to furnish employment for the peasantry, which was so very
much wanted in Ireland.
The Duke of Wellington said, he was of opinion a measure of this nature ought to be referred to a Select Committee. The subscription required by the Bill in order to constitute one of these Joint Stock Companies might turn out a juggle, and a lien might be thus obtained upon the land to the amount of the money advanced by Government, by means of an actual conspiracy. He considered the whole principle of the Bill most objectionable.
The Marquis of Lansdown begged to observe, in reply to the noble Duke, that no works could be undertaken without the consent of the great majority of the landed proprietors in the neighbourhood, and it would be found that every necessary precaution had been taken in the Bill to provide against any improper appropriation of the funds supplied by Government: further he wished to observe, that the measure had been thoroughly sifted and examined in the other House of Parliament, and it had there obtained the consent of the principal landed proprietors who were most likely to be affected by its operations and provisions. It was obvious, that to complete any extensive drainage, there must be a compulsory measure where the consent of many persons had to be procured, or there would be no drainage at all.
Viscount Lorton said, the Bill had been brought forward under the plausible pretext of furnishing employment for the poor: he feared it would fail in that object, while its worst feature, the invasion of private property, would be effectual. On that account he must object to it
The House divided on the Original Motion Ayes 38; Noes 20-Majority 18. Bill read a third time and passed,
HON, DONALD OGILVIE, for Forfar
Bills. Read a third time; Distillation (Ireland.) Read a first time; Prescription and Tithe Composition.
Petition presented. By Mr. WILKS, from the Members of
the Provident Society, Corsham, for the Amendment of the Friendly Societies Act.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
MINUTES.] New Writs ordered. For Tavistock, in the room of Lord WILLIAM RUSSELD, who had accepted the Chiltern Hundreds.
PILGRIM TAX-INDIA.] Mr. Wilks presented a Petition from the Rector and other respectable Inhabitants of Stafford, praying for the abolition of the Pilgrim Tax in India, and that the hereditary estates of Hindoos might not be forfeited by their conversion to Christianity.
Mr. John Campbell begged leave to support the prayer of the petition. He was anxious to see the Christian religion extended throughout the world, but he at the same time thought, that the religion of our fellow-subjects in India ought to be as little as possible interfered with. He had never understood that Hindoos lost their estates on changing their religion.
Sir John Malcolm said, he fully concurred in the prayer of the petition, but he entreated the House to be cautious how they dealt with such kind of petitions. At the present moment when education was generally diffused throughout India, and the language of this country extensively understood, such petitions attracted much attention, and the consequences of their being discussed in that House were likely to be more important than hon. Members calculated on.
Mr. Wilks said, he could have no desire whatever to cause excitement in India, where the British empire depended almost wholly on the influence of opinion. At the same time there was a great distinction between tolerating the religions of the country, and sanctioning a custom by which pilgrim fanciers collected together a number of unhappy devotees from districts of the country, and received a sum of money for each.
Mr. James E. Gordon said, he thought the connection of British authorities with the ceremonies of Pagan Idolatry involved a dereliction of Christian principles on the part of the Anglo-Indian government, which was at once a reflection on the nation, and a proof that it was not sincere in professions of Christianity. He entirely agreed with the petitioners, that the management of Pagan Temples ought to be left to Pagans themselves, and that all sanction of idolatrous ceremonies should be withheld by a Christian Government. Petition to be printed.
ruled by the East-India Company which | Legislators could redress the grievances would enforce such a law. of their constituents without being Mr. Astell remarked, that any discussion compelled to come to this country for on such a question could not advance the the purpose. This would be going at object of the petitioners. He believed once to the root of the evil, for it was that object could be best obtained by plainly impossible the present state of avoiding all angry discussion. affairs could long remain, as the House of Assembly of Canada, although unanimous on the subject of these grievances, did not possess the power to remedy them. The principal complaints contained in the petition, related to the Legislative Councils, which the petitioners affirm are composed in such a manner as to be wholly detached from the rest of the colony, being connected with it by no ties of property, of birth or affection. The petitioners also complained of the judicial system, but he was happy to say, this part of the complaint was in part remedied by disconnecting the Judges from political affairs. The petitioners also complained of the clergy preserves of land, and the alienation of lands belonging to the Jesuits College at Montreal. He adverted to these specific complaints to show how necessary it was that the colonies should manage their own affairs, and he entreated the House to consider whether the time had not arrived when the whole system of colonization ought to be thoroughly investigated, and the connection between them and the mother country established on a more liberal footing, while means were taken to improve the institutions of the colonies themselves. By some measures of this kind they might, perhaps, put an end to those feelings of irritation which had so long existed in the minds of the colonists. He firmly believed this could be done, and that the inhabitants of the Canadas, who now amounted to 1,000,000 souls, might enjoy as much happiness under the sway of the British monarchy as could be enjoyed by the citizens of any State of the world. But to attain this great end it was necessary that the institutions of the colonies should be adapted to the state of society existing therein. There were no materials out of which to raise an aristocracy in the Canadas; there were no great and wealthy landed proprietors; the inhabitants were all of nearly equal property and perfectly of equal rights; from this foundation he and they considered that the British Constitution, as divided into three branches, was not applicable to their peculiar situation. He begged distinctly to declare, however, that he was firmly attached to that
THE CANADAS.] Mr. Labouchere presented a Petition from the Commons of Lower Canada, in Provincial Parliament assembled, praying for the repeal of the Act, 6th George 4th, providing for the extension of feudal and seigniorial rights and burthens on land in the said province. As the House had already taken measures to obviate the evils which had resulted from that Act, he only presented this petition to call the attention of the House to a most striking instance of the mischiefs which might be inflicted on a colony by misinformed and hasty legislation. The evils resulting from the Act had been repaired so far as the power of the House extended, but property to a large extent had been lost and sacrificed by the consequences resulting from that Act.
Petition to be printed.
Mr. Labouchere had to present another Petition from the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, which was agreed to unanimously, and comprised a long list of grievances, from which they prayed redress from the House of Commons. He would not fatigue the House by going through these grievances at large, which it was not likely many hon. Gentlemen would comprehend or pay attention to; but from this very circumstance he derived the strong argument, and which also was the prayer of the petition, that it was most advisable to meet the evils effectually of which the petitioners complained, by enabling the colonies to manage their own concerns in their own way, so that the colonial
Constitution as it existed here, but what he meant to say was, that there were certain communities in which the materials for the gradations of ranks on which its foundations rested were not to be met with, and he considered the Canadas in that situation. To prove that these sentiments were correct, he would state the fact, that in British North America, out of 1,000,000 inhabitants, there were 200,000 landed proprietors; a greater number in proportion to the population than existed in any other part of the world. The institutions of any country must be regulated, if good government was to be the result, that they must meet the wants, and be applicable to the habits of the people living under them. The House must not, therefore, be scared by the phantom of democracy, when there were no materials to set up the substance of an aristocracy. If an attempt was made to create one, it could only end in an odious oligarchy. He had the high authority of Mr. Pitt for saying, that no materials for an aristocracy existed in the Canadas, and though a real aristocracy was a blessing, yet a sham one, having no root in the soil or property of the country, was the greatest curse that could be fastened upon a community which had no sympathy with such an institution. He was, therefore, fully convinced, that our only permanent chance of going on well with the colonies was, to put the Legislative Councils on a different footing, and introduce the principle of election into them. This was the form of the constitution of our old American colonies, which enjoyed the most popular institutions in the world. He had always resisted the application of principles drawn from the United States, when applied to England, from the very different circumstances and habits of the two countries, but it was equally wrong to assert, that because in England, from the gradations of ranks and privileges, and the state of society, it was impossible to revert wholly to the popular principle, that therefore that principle must not be resorted to in our colonies where the materials and construction of society were so wholly different. He was bound in justice to declare, that the colonies had been treated in the most kind and considerate manner by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Murray) who lately presided over the colonial department, and that his system had been followed up with great activity by the VOL. VIII. Third
noble Lord who had succeeded him. The colonists made no complaints against their governors, as connected with their present institutions, but they complained that these institutions required amendment. The colonists expressed no distrust in the administration of the colonial department in this country, and he was certain their confidence was retained, and with that view he would conclude by entreating his noble friend, at the head of that department, not to attempt to trifle or neglect this great question, but to look forthwith into the whole state of the British colonies with an earnest desire to redress their grievances and improve their institutions. As he understood his hon. friend, the member for Middlesex, had a petition to present from the other province of Canada, on the subject of the clergy reserves, he would take the present opportunity to declare, that it was absolutely necessary for the peace of the colonies, that an end should be put to the pretensions of the Church of England, and a perfect religious equality established. He was a friend to that Church in this country, where the majority of the people professed its doctrines, but the case was different in the Canadas, and it was perfect madness to attempt to build up an Established Church there. The sooner the attempt was abandoned the better.
Viscount Howick said, he entirely agreed with his hon. friend, that a petition coming unanimously from the House of Assembly of Lower Canada was entitled to the best consideration and attention of that House. He also concurred with his hon. friend, that the Colonial Legislatures ought to be intrusted with the internal management of the affairs of their respective colonies, and that it was for the interest of all parties that every means should be adopted, which could tend towards increasing the happiness, wealth, and commerce of the colonists. These were the principles which he had always advocated, and they were, he was happy to say, the principles which guided the Administration of which he formed so humble a part. The only case in which the House had been called upon to legislate with regard to Canada, since the accession of the present Ministry to office, was, with respect to two Acts which were brought in for the sole purpose of removing technical difficulties. The latter of the two was an Act to enable his Majesty to consent to an Act of the local 2 C