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increase into his (the Lord Chancellor's) shade of difference of opinion between him pocket of not less than 26,0001. a-year. and his noble friend upon that great and His learned and venerable friend, in his important measure. It was with a view to explanation of this view of the subject, refute the serious charges that had been had stated, that in a political point of view made against him by his venerable and patronage was of greater value to the Lord learned friend, that he had risen to move Chancellor than money, and that the Bill for a return of the salary and emoluments would be to him an increase of patronage of the Secretary of the Lord Chancellor. to the extent of 26,0001. a-year.
Other When the facts of the case had been so persons had repeated the charge, without perverted, that a reduction of salary to the this distinction between the patronage and extent of 1,3001. a-year had been conthe money. This charge was utterly un- strued into the creation of a place which founded, but it was not more so than would increase the salary by 1,2001. a another charge which had been made year, he almost feared that such erroneous against him. It was asserted, that he had impression proceeded from a source that contrived by the Bill to provide for his would be impervious to any discipline Secretary a sinecure place, as Secretary of which he could apply. The noble and Bankruptcies, of the annual value of about learned Lord concluded by moving for a 1,2001. This was a total misrepresentation return “ of the annual amount of fees reof the case in every particular; for so far ceived by the Commissioners of Bankrupt from the Bill giving any increase of income in London, by the Secretary of Bankrupis
, to his Secretary, it would actually decrease by the Patentee in Bankruptcy, and by the that person's salary by 1,2001. or even Messengers to the Commissioners of Bank1,3001. a-year.
The person who would rupt, and also the expenses of assignments hold the office of Secretary of Bankrupts and bargains and sales; which expenses under the Bill, was now called his (the and several fees are proposed to be abolished Lord Chancellor's) Secretary, and he had by the Bill for establishing a new Court at the present moment an income of in Bankruptcy; also, an estimate of the 2,5001. a-year, and all the Bill would do establishment to be formed under the Act in relation to this officer would be, to to establish a Court in Bankruptcy, stating deprive him of that income, and to sub- the offices proposed to be created, and the stitute a place under another name, the pay of each, with their proposed pensions total salary of which would be only 1,2001. and retiring allowances, and from what To this strange perversion of the facts of funds to be paid; and also, an account the case was added, from a very different of the expenses of the office of Secretary quarter, another statement equally without of Bankrupts upon the average of three foundation. It had been put forth, that years, ending 31st of March, 1830; disthere was a strong difference of opinion tinguishing how much on the average was between him and his noble friend at the retained by the Secretary for his own use, head of his Majesty's Councils with respect how much was paid to the Deputy Secreto a very material part of the Reform Bill, tary and each of the Clerks, and how much and this gross misrepresentation had arisen was applied to pay the general expenses of from an inaccurate and garbled statement the office.”-Ordered. of what had been said of the measure by him, when he had been addressing the GALLERY IN THE HOUSE OF LORDs.] House upon the subject of the Bill. What The Earl of Shaftesbury presented a Rehe had said upon that occasion was, hat port from the “ Library Committee" of there was not the slightest difference of the House of Lords, to whom it was reopinion upon the question of Reform ferred previously to the Motion for the between him and his noble friend, and he second reading of the Reform Bill, to ashad then distinctly added, that not only certain what additional accommodation was there not, but that there never had could be provided in the House, &c. His been, any such difference between them. Lordship read the Report, to the following This statement had been omitted, and the effect : passage of his speech, from which this “1. That the galleries already erected sentence had been left out, had been com- in their Lordships' House, pursuant to an mented upon so as utterly lo mislead the Address in September last, to afford seats public mind on the subject. He would for all those who might attend on a thea again declare, that there did not exist al approaching Debate, are inconvenient, and
ought to be taken down; that the fire- ing the 5th of July, 1831; of the Money in the hands of
each Stamp Distributor in the United Kingdom upon the place in the centre of the wall (on the
1st of each month, for the year ending 5th July, 1831; and Ministerial side of the House, and now of the amount of money in the hands of each Collector of boarded up), injuriously interferes with
Assessed Taxes in the United Kingdom upon the 1st of
each Month, for the year ending 5th July, 1831. the due ventilation of the House, and that the said fire-place ought to be bricked up BANKRUPTCY COURT BILL-Comand closed.
MITTEE-THIRD DAY.] Lord Althorp “2. That it is advisable to erect a gal- moved the Order of the Day for the Comlery at the end of the House (namely, mittee on this Bill. over the door below the bar of the House) House in Committee. On the question for the accommodation of strangers under to agree to the clause appointing official certain restrictions; and that the said assignees, gallery ought to be according to a plan Mr. Warburton wished for some explahanded to the Lords' Committee by Mr. nation as to the manner in which the Smirke.
duties hitherto performed by the provi“3. That their Lordships be recom- sional assignee would in future be exemended to move an Address to his Ma- cuted. Would it still be necessary to apjesty, that he would be pleased to give point a provisional assignee, or would the directions to have the present side galleries duties of that office be performed by one taken down, the said centre fire-place of the official assignees, and, if so, would closed, and a new gallery raised at the any additional expense be thrown upon end of the House, in accordance with Mr. the bankrupt's estate thereby ? Smirke's plan."
Mr. Serjeant Wilde said, that the proThe Duke of Cumberland inquired where visional assignee would have no existence this gallery was to be erected ?
after the passing of the Bill. The official The Earl of Shaftesbury replied, in the assignees would discharge all the duties vacant space immediately over the principal which had heretofore been executed by the entrance at the lower end of the House. provisional assignee and the messenger.
The Duke of Cumberland : Is it for He apprehended that they would discharge Peers ?
those duties without any other remuneraThe Earl of Shaftesbury: For strangers. tion than the usual per centage fee. The
The Duke of Richmond added, that the Bill contained a clause which prohibited place below the bar, occupied by strangers, the officers employed under it from taking would be for the accommodation of Mem- any fees except those prescribed in the bers of the House of Commons.
Bill. Although they were accustomed to Lord Ellenborough said, that the intro- speak of the provisional assignee, no such duction of similar alterations had been officer was mentioned in the Bankruptcy under the consideration of the former Statutes. Government, but that the great expense Sir Charles Wetherell said, he must at which they were estimated, namely, object to the wording of the clause, which 2,5001., prevented their being eflected. would create a doubt as to whether the
The Report of the Committee agreed to, official assignees could act previously to the and on the Motion of the Earl of Shaftes- appointment of the creditors' assignees. bury, an Address was ordered to be pre- The official assignee, as it appeared to him, sented to his Majesty, praying his Majesty could have no power to act in the tiine that he would be graciously pleased to have between the period when the docket was the recommendation of the Commiitee car- first struck, and the appointment of reried into effect.
gular assignees by the creditors. [The erection of this gallery is an epoch in the history of the House of Lords. In it, by their Lordships' approbation, ferent view of the case. He was of opinion,
Mr. Serjeant Wilde took a wholly difwas provided accommodation for the reporters of the Public Press; though according to their Lordships' standing order the official assignee would have the same it still remains a breach of their privileges to report their authority as was now held by the providebates.]
sional assignee, after the passing of this
Bill. There would then be no necessity
servation of the hon. and learned Serjeant MINUTES.] Returns ordered. On the Motion of Mr. HUME,
was good for anything, it went a little too Kingdom, with all the expenses of each, for the year end. I far, for until the creditors had chosen their own assignee, the Commissioners or the the Bill before them provided against this Court must appoint some person to take evil effectually. It was forbidden by the care of the assets.
the revenues collected in each Post Office in the United
present law, but yet it was of frequent ocThe Solicitor-General observed, that currence. there must be an assignee at law to protect Mr. Serjeant Wilde said, the practice the property in the first instance, and this arose from solicitors being compelled to was one of the purposes effected by the select particular lists of Commissioners, Bill, which said, there shall be an official because they knew that some of the lists assignee instanter to every bankrupt, in were not very competent to manage the whom the property should vest. It was of business; but under this Bill it would be no consequence whether he was called a impossible that any such selection could provisional or official assignee. The office be desired, because the persons to be apwould be filled, and the duty done. pointed would be fully competent to the
Mr. John Campbell said, that nothing duties of the office. Unless they were could be clearer to his mind than that, more competent persons than the present, under this Bill, the assignees chosen by the the power of selection was an advantage. creditors, would have a co-extensive power Mr. Freshfield said, as the Bill conwith the official assignee, so soon as they tained no particular direction that the were elected, but that all the bankrupt's Commissioners should appoint the official property would vest in the official assignee assignee,and as it was allowed generally that until the regular assignees were chosen by there was a necessity for such an appointthe creditors. There was no necessity, ment as soon as possible, he would beg therefore, for a provisional assignee. leave to move, that the following proviso
Mr. Freshfield was of opinion, the ob- should be added to the clause, viz. “ That jection was well founded. He thought nothing herein contained shall prevent the that, by the words of the Bill, the official Commissioners from appointing the official assignee had no power to act but in con- assignee immediately.” junction with the assignee chosen by the Mr. Burge thought, the appointment of creditors. Surely, if there was any doubt official assignees altogether unnecessary; upon the point, as they were all agreed, it and would subject the bankrupt estates to was desirable the property should vest in a needless charge. Besides, the Bill would the official assignee, it was better to re- only act partially; the real title, as applimove such doubts, by altering the con- cable to it, was “ An Act to amend the struction of the clause.
Administration of Bankrupts Estates in Sir Charles Wetherell said, he should London,” yet he thought the great comnot now prolong the present discussion any mercial emporiums of Manchester, Liverfurther, as it was his intention at the end pool, and other places, required an amendof the clause to move a proviso, empower- ment of the administration of the Banking the official assignee to act as sole as-, rupt Laws as much as London, but they, signee, previous to the appointment of the it appeared, were to be wholly neglected. creditors' assignee.
With respect to the assignees, he saw no The Attorney-General was sorry to differ reason why creditors' assignees might not from his hon. and learned friend, but with be made subject to the same rules, and all due deference for his judgment, he saw perform all the duties required of official nothing in the clause which would prevent assignees. In some cases there could be the official assignee acting alone.
no doubt they would perform them much Sir John Newport was of opinion, th better. For instance, in cases of Westthe remuneration of the assignees should Indian bankruptcy, where, as in a late case, be made dependent on the amount of the bankrupts had creditors in almost the sums they might collect, as such a every island, and produce to an enormous condition would be the best guarantee for amount remitted on their accounts. An the zealous and effectual performance of official assignee appointed to receive the their duty.
assets of such a concern, would almost Mr. Warburton said, it was well under- make a fortune out of it. Besides, he stood that a practice obtained, the ma- might turn his situation to account, partichinery of which could not well be traced, cularly if he was a mercantile man, by by which the attornies for the Commission calculating the effect of great sales of chose what set of Commissioners the case sugar in the market. He understood such should go before for settlement. He hoped an assignee was not only to have a per
centage upon the amount of debts collect- | fact. To say the least, the opinions of ed, but also upon all produce sold belong- practical men were equally divided on the ing to the estate. He considered that such subject. He objected to the selection of an appointment was not necessary, for all official assignees being intrusted to the the onerous duties must be performed by Lord Chancellor. That noble and learned the creditors'assignees, and thus the estate Lord might be a very good judge of the would be burthened with the charges and persons most proper to fill judicial situaper centage of the official assignee without tions, but he doubted his capability of its deriving an adequate advantage from knowing who were the fittest persons to be the appointment. Again, it was provided made official assignees. It was his firm by the Bill, that such parties were to give belief that this patronage would be made security to the Lord Chancellor. Was it use of for political purposes. He called intended that the security was to be in the particular attention of the Committee proportion 10 the sum vested in their to this extraordinary fact—that to the luhands ? if so, half the mercantile world in crative situation of official assignee the London would be under bond to his Lord- Lord Chancellor appointed; but that to ship, and all this was done to guard the barren office of joint assignees the creagainst any fraud in the creditors'assignee. ditors appointed. Now, from the constiHe thought adequate security could be tution of human nature, it was quite clear, obtained without all this expensive ma- that unpaid and unsalaried assignees chinery, which would entail a heavy charge would not perform their duties properly; upon every bankrupt's estate. He should, and that was another objection which he therefore, propose, that the whole of this had to this clause. He likewise objected clause relating to official assignees be left to the mode of remunerating the official out of the Bill.
assignees, the official assignees being Mr. Warburton said, that if there was appointed nolen volens the body of creany part of the Bill which he approved of, ditors. it was that which related to the appoint- Sir George Warrender observed, that he ment of official assignees. The only part supported this Bill from the confidence of the clause he objected to was, the com- which he placed in the present Lord pensation to be allowed them. It was Chancellor, whose conduct, in his opinion, stated that five per cent was to be the richly deserved it. He deprecated the commaximum, but he feared, if the Court of parisons which had been made between the Chancery had to manage this matter, that character of the Lord Chancellor and of this per centage would turn out to be the Cardinal Wolsey. Such comparisons apminimum. He had also considerable peared to him to be perfectly unjustidoubts whether the resources that were to fiable. He considered that more patron. be relied on to defray the charges of the age was relinquished than would be acCourt, would be found adequate to the quired by the Lord Chancellor, in consepurpose. Again, who were to look after quence of this Bill. To impute such unthe official assiguees--to whom were they worthy motives as those which had been to be responsible? He should most likely imputed to the Lord Chancellor was imibe told that, the control would rest with tating the conduct of those men who were the Court of Chancery, which was tanta- now placarding the streets with lists immount to there being no control at all. puting to Members of the other House of He, therefore, thought it would be an im- Parliament, salaries, places, and pensions provement to refer the proceedings of far exceeding the amount of all the salathese officers to the Court they were at- ries, places and pensions held by the tached to particularly, but he would not move Peerage. an amendment to that effect. Certainly, Sir Charles Wetherell was certain that he was of opinion, that the collecting into the hon. Member who had just sat one fund the whole effects of bankrupts, down, either could not have been present, would be the means of effecting a consider- or if present, could not have attended able saving.
to his observations on a former occaSir Charles Wetherell said, he must sion. So far had he been from attacking enter his decided protest against the Bill the Lord Chancellor on the score of being hurried through the House, on the his patronage, that the hon. Baronet, false assumption that the mercantile classes if he had heard him, or if he had been approved of it. This he denied to be the present, would have known that he had
not said anything which could lead any in collecting and distributing as speedily rational man to suppose that he intended as possible the assets of the bankrupt. any personal imputation on the Lord As to remunerating the assignees, he Chancellor. What he had said was this thought that the Bill provided in the best
- that if the Lord Chancellor was surren- possible way for that. The settlement of dering patronage by this Bill, he had a the amount of remuneration was left to the right to compensation for it in his retiring discretion of the Court, and it was imallowance. In the observations which he possible to vest the matter in more satishad made upon the Lord Chancellor, he factory hands. With regard to the objechad spoken politically, not personally. tion respecting the Bank of England, an To make unjust imputations against an- arrangement was in progress with the other, was in his opinion, not merely wrong, Bank. it was also a crime. The tone which he Amendment negatived without a dihad taken upon this Bill was political, not vision, and clause agreed to personal. The hon. Baronet bad com- A proviso was then proposed as folplained that it was unjustitiable that the lows, viz. “ Provided always, and be it Lord Chancellor should be placarded as enacted, that nothing herein contained, the Peers were about the streets. In that shall extend to authorize any official ashe fully agreed with the hon. Baronet; signee, to interfere with the assignees chosen but at the same time he thought, that it by the creditors in the appointment or rewould be quite as well if some persons, moval of a solicitor or attorney, or in diwho were not quite so high in dignity as recting the time or manner of effecting Peers, were not placarded daily in the any sale of the bankrupt's estates or es. Press. He should be glad if the system fects.” of crimination and recrimination was with- Sir Charles Wetherell said, he did not drawn on both sides.
see what way disputes were to be settled. Mr. Warburton said, the creditors He feared the assignee, he meant the of ought certainly to have the exclusive right ficial one, would interfere some way or of choosing the assignees by whom debts other. were to be collected, and he very much Mr. John Campbell said, the official asdoubled if they would ever be satisfied signee's business would be to see that no with having debts compromised by any waste was committed, but he would not others than persons of their own choice. have the power of compelling the forecloHe had not yet understood whether there sure of a mortgage without the consent of had been any arrangements made with the the assignee appointed by the creditors. Bank of England, for receiving deposits The Proviso agreed to. from the Court, for it was well known that On the question for vesting the personal it was the practice of that establishment estate in assignees. to receive only bills of a particular de- Sir Charles Wetherell observed, there scription.
was in all former Acts a formulary of the Mr. Freshfield said, he could give no conveyance of the bankrupt's effects; be official information on that subject; he wished to know if there was one in this knew of no arrangement with the Bank. Act? Lord Aithorp admitted that there might
The Solicitor General said, it was not be an increase of patronage just at present wanted; for the hon, and learned Gentlethrown into the hands of the Lord Chan- man would find in another clause, that cellor by this Bill; but after the first ap- the certificate of the appointment of the aspointments were made, there would be signees was declared to be evidence of a great diminution of patronage. As the their title to the property. disposal of that patronage must be placed Mr. Warburton said, this and the folsomewhere, he thought that the hands of lowing clause he considered very great imthe Lord Chancellor were those in which provements upon the existing administrait could be most safely deposited. With tion of the law. respect to the observations that the as- Mr. Burge said, the Bankrupt Laws did signees who received no salaries would not not extend to any of our colonies. When perform their duty properly, he had only the property of a bankrupt was sued for to reply, that those assignees must be cre- there, the bankrupt himself was obliged to ditors, and that circumstance would in join with the assignees in giving a power itself be sufficient to give them an interest I of attorney to some person there to bring