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mere passage for our redundant popula- time for carrying the Bill into operation
middle of the year. As all were of opinion
propomight be allowed to make such arrange- sition made by his bon, friend was a most ments as they thought proper with regard reasonable one, and he was surprised at to them.
the disposition of Ministers to press a very Petition to be printed.
important measure through its stages when
the patronage of the Lord Chancellor the BANKRUPTCY Court Bul --COM- nomination of all the registrars and assigMITTEE-Second DAY.] The Attorney- wees, was to take place immediately, while General moved the Order of the Day for the Bill was not to come into operation the House again resolving itself into a until January next. These new offices emCommittee on this Bill.
braced situations with salaries amounting to Mr. Freshfield would take the oppor- 26,0001 a-year, and those appointed to tunity of making a suggestion to the noble them would derive a right to rating for Lord; which might have the effect of re- superannuation and salary, from the momoving any further objections to the pro- ment of passing the Bill. He understood gress of the Bill at present. He could that the noble and learned Lord had this assure the noble Lord that he made no
very day, from the Woolsack, repudiated objection to the measure from any party the charge of being a second Cardinal motives: on the contrary, he concurred in Wolsey; he repeated, however, with such the principle of the measure, and thought a Bill as this in his hand, he had every it would introduce a much better system claim to the title. than that at present existing, but there The Attorney General would not, in this were parts of the detail to which he did stage, anticipate the objections which object: what, however, he would suggest to ought to be made regularly in the Comthe noble Lord was, that he should fix the mittee, further than by assuring
that the great recommendation of the Bill, superannuation allowances to these Comnext to the speedy administration of missioners. Persons who served the public justice in this branch of the law, was the should be fairly and liberally paid, but great saving which it would effect to the their salaries ought to continue no longer public. When they came, in Committee, than they fulfilled the duties of their to the clause as to superannuation and office. At the present moment the counsalaries of officers, he should distinctly try had to pay seven millions annually show that the noble Lord at the head of for retired military and naval pensions, the Chancery Court had not aimed at, nor and more than a million a-year to persons would he obtain, the extent of patronage it who had held civil situations. These sums was alleged be required or sought under had increased a million and a half since the Bill, as, in point of fact, the salaries the conclusion of the war. The Comof the officers alluded to under the provi- mittee which had sat for the purpose of sions of the Bill would not commence looking into the amounts of salaries had until January next.
recommended, that for the future no civil Mr. Hume said, he most strongly ob- officer should be entitled to a retired aljected to the superannuation clause. It lowance, and the absurdity of the system was a departure from the pledge of Mi- to be established by this Bill would be nisters, so distinctly given, that they would manifest when it was considered that a retrench all unnecessary expense. Here half-pay lieutenant-colonel or captain, were officers the Secretary, for example, after twenty years hard service, received with not less than 1,2001. a-year to be perhaps about 1501. per annum, while appointed—why should they not insure those Commissioners, whose services had their lives, as in other departments of the been amply remunerated were to be enpublic service, for the benefit of their titled, after one year's attendance in this families, if families they had ? It looked Court, to a retiring pension of 2001. a-year. too much like a job. Divided as persons
Lord Althorp said, that the provisions in that House were into parties in politics, referred to by the hon. member for Midand having, of course, adherents and dlesex were not essential to the principle friends and relatives, and even predilec- of the Bill, and the proper time to discuss tions for those with whom the leaders of them was in the Committee. It was obparties there generally acted, it could not vious that judicial officers must stand upon but be looked on with suspicion, that these a different footing with regard to superappointments in favour of the friends of annuation allowances from other civil offithe present Ministry, should be taken out cers. If the Judges were not allowed a of the general rule laid down as to super- retiring pension, they would remain in annuation of public officers. If, next office beyond the age at which they ought year, they should pass a bill to limit and to retire. He should be
anyrestrain the superannuation system, it thing in the Bill should be taken as a prewould seem more than ordinarily suspi- cedent affecting the general question of cious that the Ministry should have superannuation. With respect to several availed themselves of this short interval, of the offices connected with the Court, he before the passing of such a bill of re- was ready to admit the same rule ought trenchment, to put their nominees out of to be applied to them as to other offices, the reach of the general measure already but in general he agreed with the hon. anticipated. In the United States there Member, that the present system of super
no retiring allowances, and the annuation was a great grievance. same system ought to be adopted here. Mr. Hunt said, this Bill did not The public ought not to be saddled with look as if the noble Lord were following such a burthen. He wholly disapproved out his own principles. He had underof the system, as well as the plan for stood that it was the boast of the present pensioning off the present Commissioners. Ministers, that they proposed to carry on They had been amply remunerated for the Government without the aid of patrontheir services, and they had a profession age. from which they ought to derive an in- Lord Althorp observed, that he had come. They had also been paid fees for only said the Government would do as their attendance, and they might as well much as possible without patronage, for be called on to give a retiring allowance he was satisfied that it was a greater evil to a physician when his patient died, as than good. He trusted the House did not believe they were making a change in a of justice, would at once prevent such an Court of Justice for the purpose of acquir- abuse of authority as hon. Gentlemen oping patronage. If any persons did think posite seemed to anticipate. If anything so, he would recommend them to look at of the sort were to happen, it would immethe provisions of the Bill, and they would diately be brought under the attention of find patronage would be diminished by it. the Legislature. It had been said, that this Certainly, however, he was of opinion that Bill was hurried through the House in an in all cases where appointments were ne- improper manner, and without due discuscessary they ought to be filled up by Go-sion. But, surely the House must revernment.
collect how often this subject had been Mr. Hunt said, the noble Lord had ex- brought under its attention, and how many pressed nearly the same opinion as he had complaints had been made from all the understood him to entertain, viz. that the great commercial places in the kingdom, Government was not to be carried on by of the manner in which the Bankrupt-law means of patronage ; but this Bill, not- had been administered.
He would rewithstanding, would give a pretty tolerable commend the hon. member for Preston, share to one of the members of the Cabi- who did not appear to be very well acnet. He must complain of the haste with quainted with the defects of the present which the Bill had been pushed forward, system, to spend a little time in reading for which he could understand no other rea- some of the petitions that had been preson than that there were fifty new places to sented to this House on the subject, and be at the disposal of the Lord Chancellor. also some of the reports of the ComHe regretted, however, to hear the noble mittees that had been appointed to inquire and learned Lord compared to Cardinal into the matter. In 1818, a Committee Wolsey. He did not believe him to be so was appointed to inquire into the subject, rapacious of patronage and personal emo- and that Committee, after receiving the lument as that person undoubtedly was, evidence of the most eminent lawyers, exif history told the truth.
perienced solicitors, extensive merchants, Mr. Daniel Whittle Harvey said, it and respectable traders, who all concurred appeared from the objections made to the in condemning the present system, prepresent measure, and to the change of sented a report to the House, and this Bill system in the Bankruptcy Court, as if this was the very measure, in substance and were the first time when anything had spirit, which that Committee recommendbeen said against the mode of administered to be adopted. Upwards of fifty witing that branch of the law. The nature of nesses were examined upon that occasion, the opposition that had been manifested and no person who would take the must produce an effect upon the public trouble to refer to these names would say mind.” One of the chief arguments that that all these respectable persons were had been urged against this Bill, and the actuated by party feelings. Three of the only objection that the hon. member for most eminent practitioners in that Court, Preston stated against it, was, that it namely, Mr. Cullen, Mr. Montagu, and would give great patronage to the present the present Lord Henley, all joined in Lord Chancellor. But if the measure was condemning its constitution, and they good and just in itself, the argument agreed that it was impossible to speak in respecting patronage ought not to be too strong terms of the mode in which regarded. To no person could the dis- business was transacted in that Court. posal of the appointments created by this The present Bill was, in letter and in spirit, Bill with more propriety be intrusted in perfect accordance with the recomthan to the Lord Chancellor for the time mendation of the Committee, and more being. Indeed, the stoutest opponent of especially the mode of forming the Court the Bill would not wish the patronage of Review, which had been so much conof judicial offices to be placed in other demned by hon. Members opposite. hands than in those of the head of the He would not take up the time of the law. If an improper use was made of the House at present, nor do anything calpatronage intrusted to that high office, the culated to impede their getting into Comholder was amenable to the laws of the mittee, but if an opportunity had been country, and the jealousy with which this afforded him at an earlier period, and the House and the public always regarded any hon. and learned member for Boroughmatter connected with the administration bridge had spared him one of the many
hours during which he had occupied the time against the present measure, he would say of the House, he would have endeavoured one word; and he assured the House that to shew the absolute necessity of such a he would not take up much time in the measure as the present, as also the proba- few observations which he felt desirous of bility that it would work extremely well, making. He did not think that any charge and that, at all events, the experiment need be made on the public for the mainshould have a fair trial.
tenance of the new Court, for there were Mr. Pollock said, that the Bill before different sources of revenue already existthe House would, in his opinion, provide a ing which might be applied to that purpose
. good and efficient Court, in the place of First of all there was the undivided surplus the present defective and most inefficient of estates which had come under the corsystem-substitute despatch for delay, and nizance of the Bankrupt Court; and seeconomy for extravagance. That was not condly, there were theunclaimed dividends, a hasty and ill-advised opinion, for he had which amounted to an exceedingly large given the subject all the consideration in sum. He knew that, in the course of his power. He had had repeated oppor- fifteen or twenty years, unclaimed diwitunities of forming a judgment on this dends to nolcss an amount than 2,000,0001. subject during the course of his experience had been collected, and he was con—and he might, perhaps, be allowed to add, vinced that many millions remained yet that he believed, with the exception of Mr. uncollected. These revenues would be Cullen, and his hon. and learned friend op- found more than sufficient to pay all the opposite (Mr. Serjeant Wilde) he had had expenses of the new Court. Several hon. more experience of this Court than any Members who had addressed the House member of the profession. From a very on this subject had thought proper to disearly period of his career he was accustomed claim being influenced by party considerto attend the Court of the Commissioners of ations. He considered that any such Bankrupts day after day, and year after year, disclaimer was entirely uncalled for. This and he agreed in the conclusion arrived at was no party question; at least, he knew by his hon. and learned friend, that it was that the noble and learned Lord who prethe very worst tribunal in existence for the sided in the Court of Chancery did not administration of justice. But in making consider it so; for he had, during the prethat observation he felt bound to state, that paration of the measure, consulted every more honourable and upright men did not person, no matter what his politics night exist than many of the present Commis- be, who could communicate valuable insioners. He had the bappiness of living formation, or make useful suggestions. A on terms of intimacy with many of those great deal had been said with respect to Gentlemen : the defects that he com- the patronage which would be created by plained of arose from the very constitution this Bill; but those hon. Members who of this Court. Some of the Commission-objected to the Bill on the score of its iners never came near it, and he knew one creasing the patronage of the Lord ChanList before which he had repeatedly been cellor, should consider, that when a new engaged, in which one of the Commissioners Court was established it was necessary to did not attend for fourteen years. On in-appoint Judges to that Court; and therevestigation it would be found, that never fore patronage must be vested somewhere
. more than one half of the Commissioners Now, who was the most fit person to have attended. It often happened that, after the the disposal of those appointments? He proceedings had commenced, one of the had no hesitation in saying, that looking Commissioners would want to go away, to the character of the noble individual either out of town for pleasure, or on bui- who now held the Great Seal, there was no siness to some other Court in which he was person to whom that patronage could be engaged-in short, the system was so de- more safely intrusted than to that noble fective, that no time ought to be lost in and learned Lord ; and the appointments improving it. It was said, “Why not which, it was whispered, were already inwait until next year ?" but he contended, tended, reflected the greatest credit on his that the Legislature would be culpable in judgment. Knowing, from experience, procrastinating the removal of acknow that the present system was most defective, ledged defects in a most important part of and being of opinion that the proposed the administration of the law. With re- change would have a most advantageous ference to the want of economy charged operation, he did hope that no unnecessary delay would be thrown in the way of the had been made by an hon. and learned passing of the Bill.
He thought there | Gentleman near him, which would have could be no doubt that in the details of had the effect of shortening the time spent the Bill economy had been consulted ; and in debate, had not been agreed to by the the creditors would be greatly benefitted noble Lord. That proposition was, to let by its being carried into effect.
the Bill be passed, but not to allow it to Mr. John Wood said, that an hon. and come into operation until June next, and learned Member (Sir Charles Wetherell) in the mean time an opportunity would be had designated this measure as a gross afforded of making inquiries, and any aljob, which stunk in the nostrils. He terations that might be thought desirable wished to know whether the hon. and might be made. The Bill had not been learned Member likewise considered the brought under the attention of the House conduct of Lords Thurlow and Eldon of Commons at a time when proper consistunk in the nostrils ? Lord Thurlow had deration could be given to it, and when an given to his nephew two offices worth investigation of the subject, in all its de12,0001. a year, the reversion of which of- tails, could take place. The hon. member tices had been secured by Lord Eldon for for Colchester observed, that this was not his son. This was part of the patronage a new measure, for it was founded on the which the present Lord Chancellor meant recommendations contained in the various to cut off, and yet the time of the House Reports of the Committee up-stairs; but had been wasted for five or six nights in he would beg him to recollect, that a condiscussing the expense of the new system, siderable portion of the Members of the which would not exceed 26,0001,
present House were not Members of the Sir John Newport considered, that the Parliament in which those Reports were Bill would remedy the evils of the present made; but the House was almost entirely system in the most economical and efficient constituted of a different set of individuals. manner. There was one clause in the He knew that a Court of Appeal, formed Bill, relating to official assignees, upon of the Commissioners, had repeatedly been which he wished to address a few recommended, but this was very different words to the House, but he thought from having an entirely new constituted the most proper time for so doing would Court. His hon. and learned friend said, be in Committee. He considered it unfair that the objection to the Bill coming into towards the Speaker, who was oppressed operation in January, would apply to any with business, to keep him in the Chair to time, and that it might as well be postJisten to debates which ought regularly to poned to an indefinite period as to be be entered upon in Committee. With deferred to June. He was called, by the respect to official assignees, he would at courtesy of the House, learned, though present only say, that he knew, from his his professional experience had been exown experience as a commercial man, that tremely small, and yet the noble Lord, the great grievance of the present system certainly with not more professional expewas, the want of official assignees. rience, said that he could not consent to
Mr. Alderman Waithmun said, he had postpone the operation of this Bill beyond considerable experience in subjects of this January next, as it would lead to great nature, and when the matter had been inconvenience. lle (Mr. Praed) had not formerly before the House he had suggested heard any positive inconvenience pointed alterations in some degree similar to what out, which could result from postponing were contained in that Bill. He knew the operation of the Bill from January to that the present system was very inefficient, June. He would not now go into the and be considered that the proposed Bill question of the official assignees, upon would effect a most beneficial change. He which point be entertained strong objecdid not mean to say, that it would not be tions, but should defer what he had to say found, after some time, to require altera- on the subject for the Committee. With tion, but he thought that it was, upon the respect to the imputations that had been whole, a most excellent measure.
cast upon the Lord Chancellor, he must Mr. Praed said, that if any discussions disclaim having any participation in them. had been introduced merely for the purpose He was old enough to know that the imof protracting the passing of the Bill, he putation of being actuated by unworthy certainly had not been a party to them. He motives would be cast upon those who was very sorry that the proposition which took an active part in political matters;