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PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT.
HOUSE OF LORDS.-May 1.-On the motion of the Earl of Liverpool, the Scotch Peerage Restoration Bills were read a third time.
8.-Lord Lauderdale, in presenting a petition against agitating the question of the Corn Laws from Ipswich, complained that Ministers had deceived the people and him, by pretending that they did not mean to bring on the subject in the present Session. He also presented another petition on the same subject from the Committee of the Norfolk Agricultural Society. It was read at length, and remonstrated against the discussion of the question when all parties were taken by surprise.
Lord Dudley and Ward presented a petition from several thousand Roman Catholics of the county of Roscommon, in favour of concession.
9. The Duke of Montrose presented a petition from the University of Glasgow, against the clauses in the Irish Prisons' Improvement Bill, which exclude doctors of medicine from being appointed medical attendant of any prison, unless they obtain a diploma from the School of Medicine established at Dublin.
The Earl of Lauderdale condemned the attempts which had been made to exclude all medical men, except qualified at Dublin. Laid on the table. On the motion of the Earl of Liverpool, the House went into a committee on the Criminal Laws' Consolidation Bill. After some verbal amendments, proposed by the Lord Chancellor, the bill was report ed, and the House adjourned.
10-Several petitions were presented against slavery by the Earl of Shaftesbury, the Bishop of Ferns, and Lord Calthorpe.
The Earl of Lauderdale said, no returns bad been laid before the House as to the quantity of oats, barley, and rye, now in bond. He thought the House should be in possession of those returns prior to the discussion which stood for tomorrow on the subject of the Corn Laws.
11. Mr Anderson, writer to the signet, presented the return of the Scotch Judges to the order of the House, for examining the aged witnesses, in Scotland, on the Lovat peerage.
Lord Dudley and Ward presented a petition from merchants, manufacturers, and traders, in Glasgow and its vicinity, expressing their apprehensions at the intended measures for throwing open the
colonial markets, and praying that such measures might not be passed into a law. The petition was signed by 700 persons."
Lord King presented a petition from the journeymen cotton-spinners of Manchester, praying their Lordships to release the foreign corn now in bond, and also to give his Majesty's Government a discretionary power of admitting foreign grain. His Lordship then presented a petition from the freemen of Worcester, praying for an alteration in the Corn Laws.
The Earl of Malmesbury rose for the purpose of moving the resolution of which he had given notice, and in doing so, he assured their Lordships, that he had undertaken the task with great pain and embarrassment. The noble Earl then entered into the subject at consider. able length, and in a speech of great mo deration. He learned from the master manufacturers, that the present distress was occasioned by combination; from the workmen, that it arose from machinery. Old-fashioned people, like himself, thought that it might proceed from the new commercial policy adopted, and the unprincipled speculations to which it had given rise. Others ascribed it to the state of the currency. Was it not proper, therefore, when there were so many different opinions, to ascertain what was its real cause, instead of fastening at once on the Corn Laws, which he was conviuced had nothing to do with it? The noble Earl concluded by moving a resolution, which was to the following effect :-" That the House, although sincerely anxious to contribute to the fullest extent of its power to the relief of the suffering classes, thought it not expedient to pass any measures for the alteration or suspension of the existing system of the Corn Laws, without a previous inquiry into the alleged necessity for such an alteration or suspension, and into the effect which they might produce on the relative interests of the growers and consumers of British corn."
Earl Bathurst opposed the resolution, as ambiguous and unnecessary; and contended, that if an inquiry were once instituted, instead of a week, it would occupy months after months, and yet lead to no satisfactory result. The resolution of Lord Malmesbury was supported by the Marquis of Salisbury, the Earl of Limerick, Lord Ellenborugh, Earl Gros.
venor, Lord Falmouth, Earl Darnley, Lord Mansfield; and opposed by Lord Harewood, Earl Rosebery, the Earl of Aberdeen, the Earl of Westmoreland, Lord King, Lord Carnarvon, &c.
Their Lordships then divided, when there appeared-For the motion, 49— Proxies, 18-67.-Against it, 96 Proxies, 70-166.-Majority against the motion, 99.-Adjourned.
12. The Duke of Montrose presented a petition from the planters and others, inhabitants of Glasgow, connected with property in the West-Indies, complaining of the deterioration thereof, and deprecating any interference with the property of slaves. Laid on the table. The Lord Chancellor said he had also two petitions to present to the same effect (one of them, we believe, was from Edinburgh.) He was one of those who thought that the abolition of slavery should be brought about by gradual and temperate means. He believed that those who had advocated immediate abolition only added to the difficulties which were in the way. Laid on the table.
17. The Yeomanry Cavalry Laws' Amendment Bill was read a third time.
18.-Several petitions were presented against the measures now in progress for the admission of bonded, and the importation of foreign corn during the recess of Parliament. In answer to some observations, the Earl of Liverpool gave fresh assurances that the duty of twelve shillings now proposed was merely a temporary expedient, and would have no bearing on the general question or permanent settlement of the Corn Laws, which would remain as open after the passing of these bills as it now was.
19. The Warehouse Corn Bill, and the Importation of Corn Bill, were read a first time, on the motion of the Earl of Shaftesbury.
The House went into a committee on the Irish Prisons Bill. A discussion took place on the clause of the bill which provides for the nomination of medical men to fill situations in the different prisons. The Duke of Montrose expressed a wish that the nomination should be made to extend to the College of Glasgow. The Earl of Liverpool said, that he could have no objection to its reaching, not only Glasgow, but the Colleges of Edinburgh and St. Andrew's. But the bill, as it now stood, met with his approbation. After some farther discussion, the bill went through the committee without any amendment. Adjourned.
22.-Lord Ellenborough said, that, previous to the discussion which was to take place to-morrow, he wished for an
explanation from the Noble Lord opposite, relative to the last clause in the Bonded Corn Bill. A new interpretation, it ap peared, had been given to the word "proportion," introduced into that clause, and he confessed it had puzzled him much to understand it. The Lord Chancellor said, that he was in the habit of doing nothing out of order, and he therefore could give no explanation at present.
23.-Lord Liverpool moved the order of the day for the second reading of the Warehouse Corn Bill. The Earl of Malmesbury objected to the second bill, on the ground that it would not give any relief to the farmers of the country. The Noble Lord did not object to the first bill. The Lord Chancellor vindicated the bills, on the ground that they in no manner interfered with the general question of the Corn Laws. A long debate followed, in which the bills were supported by the Earl of Liverpool, the Earl of Harrowby, Lord King, and Lord Darnley; and objected to by Lord Grey, the Earl of Lauderdale, Marquis of Salisbury, the Earl of Carnarvon, the Earl of Limerick, Lord Redesdale, and the Duke of Somerset.
The Lord Chancellor then put the question on the bill relating to the bonded corn, on which the House divided, when there appeared,-Contents 84, Non-Contents, 23. Majority in favour of second reading, 61. On the second division as to the Importation of Corn Bill, the contents were 78. Non-contents 28. Majority 50-Adjourned.
24.-Lord Fitzwilliam asked for some information respecting relief being afford. ed to the distressed manufacturers.
The Earl of Liverpool said, he had no difficulty in saying, it would be quite unprecedented to grant any pecuniary aid out of the public purse; the more proper mode would be, he had stated on a former occasion, to afford relief through the medium of private benevolence.
On the motion of the Earl of Liverpool, the House went into a committee on the Bonded Corn Bill, when the clauses were discussed scriatim; after which the bill was reported, with amendments, which were ordered to be taken into consideration to-morrow. The House the went into a committee on the bill giving power to Ministers to import corn, and after some discussion, the bill was reported without amendment.
25.-The House met, but there was no business of the slightest importance. 26. The Bonded Corn Bills, after a lengthened discussion, were read a third
time and passed. The House then ad- you for the provision which you have journed till Wednesday the 31st.
PROROGATION OF PARLIAMENT. 31. The Lord Chancellor, the Arch
bishop of Canterbury, the Marquis of Conyngham, the Earl of Harrowby, and the Earl Shaftesbury, having taken their seats as Commissioners, at a quarter past two o'clock, Mr Quarme, the Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod, was directed to summon the Commons, who soon after attended at the bar. The Royal assent was then notified to the two Corn Bills, and to fourteen other public and private bills. The Lord Chancellor then read
the following speech :
"My Lords and Gentlemen,
"His Majesty commands us to inform you, that the state of the public business enabling his Majesty to close the Session at a period of the year the most conve nient for a general election, it is his Majesty's intention to dissolve, without delay, the present Parliament, and to direct the issue of writs for the calling of a new
"His Majesty cannot take leave of you, without commanding us to express his Majesty's deep sense of the zeal and public spirit which you have constantly displayed in the discharge of your several important functions.
"His Majesty particularly acknowledges the promptitude and discretion with which you have applied yourselves to the objects specially recommended to you by his Majesty at the commencement of this Session; and his Majesty confidently hopes, that the good effect of your deliberations will be manifested in the improved stability of public and private credit.
"His Majesty has the satisfaction to inform you, that the distinguished skill, bravery, and success, with which the operations of the British arms, in the dominions of the King of Ava, have been carried on, have led to the signature, upon highly honourable terms, of a preliminary treaty with that Sovereign, which his Majesty has every reason to expect will be the foundation of a secure and permanent peace.
"His Majesty further commands us to repeat to you, that his Majesty's ear
nest endeavours have continued to be unremittingly exerted to prevent the breaking out of hostilities among nations, and to put an end to those which still unhappily exist, as well in America as in Europe.
"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"His Majesty commands us to thank
made for the service of the year.
"His Majesty's attention will be constantly directed to the reduction of the
public expenditure, in every degree that
may be consistent with the due maintenance of the security, honour, and interests of his kingdom.
"My Lords and Gentlemen,
"We are specially commanded to assure you, that his Majesty's paternal feelings have been deeply affected by the distresses which have prevailed among the manufacturing classes of his Majesty's subjects, and by the exemplary pa. tience with which those distresses have been generally borne.
"His Majesty trusts, that the causes out of which the partial stagnation of employment has arisen, are, under the blessings of Providence, in a course of gradual abatement.
"His Majesty is confident that your presence and example in your several counties will contribute to maintain and encourage the loyal and orderly spirit which pervades the great body of his people; and his Majesty relies upon your disposition, to inculcate that harmony and mutual good-will among the several great interests of the country, upon which the common prosperity of them all essentially depends.'
A commission for proroguing the Par liament to the 14th day of June next was then read.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.—April 17.The House went into a committee on the bill for consolidating the Criminal Laws, in which Mr Peel explained at some length the clause which enables two Magistrates to admit to bail in doubtful cases of felony, the object of which is to prevent unnecessary imprisonment of the subject. The clause was agreed to, as were several other clauses, and the farther consideration of the bill was then postponed.
The House next went into a committee on the Larceny Bill, in which Mr Peel proposed several amendments, altering the law with regard to stealing in churches and chapels, increasing the sum from 40s. to £.5, for which it is a capital offence to steal in a dwelling-house, reducing the severity of the law on stealing fish, deer, &c., and altering the enactments with regard to obtaining goods by false pretences. The bill, as amended, was ordered to be printed.
18. Mr Whitmore, after a speech of great length and ability, moved that the House do resolve itself into a committee,
to consider the propriety of a revision of the Corn Laws. After a keen discussion in a full House, the motion was negatived by a majority of 169; 81 being for the motion, and 250 against it.
19. Mr J. P. Grant obtained leave to bring in a bill to amend the Wrongous Imprisonment (Scotland) Bill, after the Lord Advocate had questioned the propriety of bringing in so important a bill at so advanced a period of the Session,
Mr Peel obtained leave to bring in a bill to repeal the Alien Act. Mr Hobhouse, and other members of opposition, highly complimented Government on the liberality of this proceeding.
Mr W. Smith rose to bring forward his motion respecting the state of slavery
in the colonies of Demerara and Berbice ; and after pointing out the vexatious and grievous oppressions under which the slaves laboured, concluded by a motion, to the effect that the Fiscal, Chief Justice, and other subordinate Officers appointed by Government at home, should be prohibited from having any property in slaves. A debate ensued, in which
Messrs Brougham, Denman, R. Ellice, Baring, and Canning, took a part, when Mr Smith agreed to withdraw his mo tion.
25.-On the motion of Captain Wemyss, the bill for improving the communication between Edinburgh and Fife was read a third time and passed.
The report of the Edinburgh Water Company Bill was agreed to, and the Invergordon Harbour Bill was read a third time and passed, on the motion of Mr
Sir A. Campbell presented a petition from the University and Apothecaries of Glasgow, complaining of the Irish Prison Laws Bill; the clause regarding diplomas, &c. for persons of the Faculty practising in such prisons,
· CATHOLIC CLAIMS.
Sir F. Burdett, in presenting a petition on this subject, said, he still admitted the force of those claims, and the policy and wisdom of enforcing them. They were claims that never could be set at rest till they were conceded.
Mr Brougham, in seconding the motion for bringing the petition up, admit. ted the continued strength of the claims, and approved of the judicious manner in which it had been presented. Petition read at length. It was that of the aggregate meeting, praying for Catholic emancipation.
Mr Bankes, jun. said, that he owed it to himself and to his constituents to de
clare that he and they remained of the same opinion on this subject.
COUNSEL FOR FELONS.
Mr G. Lamb rose to bring forward the motion of which he had already given notice. He quoted numerous legal authorities in support of his view of the subject, and considered the bill of the Right Honourable Secretary for the Home Department as forming a strong precedent for his measure.
The Attorney-General rose to oppose the motion of his honourable and learned friend.
The motion was supported by Mr J. Williams, Mr Horace Twiss, Mr Scarlett, Mr R. Martin, and Mr Brougham; and
opposed by Mr Peel, Mr Tindal, the Sodivision, it was rejected by a majority of licitor-General, and Mr Canning. On a 69, the numbers being 105 to 36.-Adjourned.
REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. forward his motion on the important sub27.-Lord John Russell rose to bring ject of Parliamentary reform. His Lord ship went over the same grounds which have been so often trodden, and concluded by moving," that the present state of the representation requires the serious consideration of the House." Lord Althorpe seconded the motion, and was followed by Mr Dennison (M.P. for Newcastle,) Mr Hobhouse, Lord L. Gower, Mr R. Lordship replied, and the House divided, Martin, and Mr W. Lamb, when his -for the motion 123, against it 247 ; majority 124.
The bill for registering aliens was brought in by Mr Peel, read a first time,
and ordered to be read a second time on Monday.
The Bank Charter Amendment Bill was read a third time and passed.
28. The Edinburgh Railway Bill was read a third time and passed.
The Edinburgh and Leith Water Works' Bill was read a third time and passed.
Mr J. P. Grant moved the second reading of the Wrongous Imprisonment Act Bill, for the purpose of postponing it. He had had communications with the Right Honourable Gentleman opposite, and he found it would not be possible to pass this Session. He wished the Home Secretary would take command of it,
May L-Mr Secretary Canning said, that, under the peculiar circumstances in the northern districts, he rose to give notice of a motion. The Ministers still remained of opinion of the inexpediency of agitating the Corn Laws; his proposed
measure was to extend relief to the districts in which there was so much distress. It was, therefore, the intention of Government to propose a bill to enable the quantity of corn accumulated to come into consumption. The Right Honourable Gentleman concluded by moving, that the House should to-morrow resolve itself into a committee on the Act of the 3d of Geo. IV. cap. 60.
Mr Tierney expressed his approbation of this measure. Mr Phillips observed, that the people also wanted the means to buy corn; the Corn Laws ought to be set at rest. Mr Canning remarked, that he had no intention to revive the question of the Corn Laws. Mr Ellice asked, whether the Government had any other measures to propose; if not, he should advert to the subject on Thursday, on the motion regarding the state of the nation. Mr Canning observed, that he should not now promote farther discussion. Mr Wodehouse thought they ought to set the Corn Laws question at rest.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke of the great exertions that had already been made, but trusted, that in a time of such difficulty, the rich would not be backward with munificent donations. Mr Secretary Peel spoke to the like effect, and said that the accounts he received were of the most distressing character; but while he was determined to perform his duty, painful as it was, he could not but express the hope that those who had the means would be prompt to supply aid. Mr Robinson made some remarks, after which the conver. sation dropped.
2.The Leith Docks' Bill was read a third time and passed. Mr Abercromby presented a petition from Alloa for the abolition of slavery. Mr Downie pre sented a similar petition from Pathhead, in the county of Edinburgh.
Mr Secretary Peel moved the first reading of the bills to restore certain Scotch peerages, and he hoped they would be allowed to pass through their several stages in one day.
Lord Milton said, he had, with considerable regret, to oppose these bills; he thought they ought not to be supported by that House. If there were a general bill, it would be a different matter; but these selections were unfortunate to restore titles that had been attainted for standing in rebellion against the con. stitution as established at the Revolution, and desiring to bring back a monarch who had been rejected for tyranny and oppression; the individuals might be worthy of peerages, but he objected to
these unfortunate selections. A bill to remove the attaint generally might have been adopted. He might stand alone in his opinions, but he was not ashamed of them.
INTRODUCTION OF FOREIGN CORN.
Mr Secretary Canning moved that the House resolve itself into a committee on the Corn Act, pursuant to his notice of yesterday.
Sir T. Lethbridge said, it was with considerable reluctance that he rose to throw any obstruction in the way of this motion. He felt for the country; but he must oppose this proposition, to afford a remedy, even though he might expose' himself to the jibes of some, or to the sterner denunciation of the noble member for Yorkshire, Lord Milton. He commiserated the condition of the manufacturers, but the relief now offered would not be a cure. Why was not a vote in aid of the poor required?-that would be a more rational course. The Honourable Member concluded by moving an amendment, "That a select committee be appointed to inquire into the causes of distress in the manufacturing districts." (Hear hear.)
Mr Bennet seconded the amendment. Mr Canning said, there now existed in this country a large quantity of corn, which had been imported under the Corn Laws as they now stood, and, according to these laws, such corn could not come into the market. The persons distressed were actually in the sight of those granaries in which such corn was hoarded. They conceived that a grinding oppression diverted that corn from supplying their necessities. It became a merely moral consideration, in such a view of the case, whether it was not wise to administer that relief which could be supplied at so small a cost to those who conceived that they might be injured by the admission of foreign corn. The Government, continued the Right Honourable Secretary, required a power to admit foreign corn under circumstances of pressure which could not be measured by any previous views which might be taken on the sub ject. Of all boons that Parliament could confer on the administration, such a dis cretionary power would be the last for which they would ask. He thought that, if the difficulties of the country were not met, it might be impossible to maintain the present state of the Corn Laws.
A debate of considerable length ensued, in which the proposed measures of Mi. nisters were defended by Mr Whitmore, Mr Philips, and Mr Huskisson; and op. posed by Mr Bankes, Mr Robertson, Colonel Wood, Mr Calcraft, Lord John