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Mr. Davenport opposed the motion. | thinking this measure injurious to the He contended, that a more disastrous country gentlemen, if he were called on measure for the country could not possi- to devise a bill for their relief, it should bly be introduced. The present bill be precisely such a one as was then beproved more than any proposition he fore the House. It had been shown beever recollected to have been made to fore a committee of that House, that in the House, the modern rage for legisla- consequence of the usury laws, individuals tion. What did the bill go to do? To were driven to raise money by annuities; overturn, at one blow, that system which and the consequence was, that the vari their ancestors, for ages, had been anxious charges amounted to not less than ous to establish. It would raise the interest of money to an unprecedented height, and the effect would be injurious to all classes of society. Those who wished to borrow money on the mortgage of lands, would be more especially affect ed by it. At present, they could procure money at the rate of 5 per cent; but let this bill pass, and they would be charged an exorbitant rate of interest. Gentle men might say, "If one person in the market won't lend money at a reasonable rate, another will." But this did not apply to persons residing at a remote distance from town, who knew nothing about the money-market. He would move as an amendment-"That the bill be committed upon this day three months."

Mr. Ricardo argued, that money ought to be placed on the same footing as any other commodity. The lender and borrower ought to be allowed to bargain fogether, as freely as the buyer and seller did when goods were to be disposed of. The hon. member who spoke last, feared that this measure would place the borrower entirely in the power of the lender. But, did the present laws alter his situation? Certainly not. Means were found to evade the law; for though the law said, "You shall not take more than a certain interest for your money," it could not compel a man to lend at that particular rate; and, therefore, he who wished to borrow at all events, and he who wished to lend at as high a rate of interest as he could get, both conspired to evade the law. These laws operated precisely in the same way as the laws against exporting the coin of the realm. Now, notwithstanding those laws, did not the exportation of that coin take place? The only effect of the statutes in that case was, to place the traffic in the hands of characters who had no scruples against taking a false oath. They were encouraged to evade the law, and made a great profit by so doing.

Mr. J. Smith said, that so far from

15 per cent. He could state the cases of many persons who had been reduced to beggary, in consequence of the recent failure of certain individuals who dealt largely in transactions of this nature. He happened to be chairman of the committee of bankers, and could state, that they wished this measure not to pass, for a reason very different from that which influenced the hon. member. He thought it would raise, but they were afraid it would lower the rate of interest. What was the case with respect to foreign countries, where no such laws were known? The rate of interest in Holland was now lighter than in any other part of the world. There was no necessity whatever for laws to check usury; for, with all their efforts, they could not prevent it.

Mr. Philips hoped the bill would pass. The Committee by which the question was discussed, saw clearly the folly of those laws. Why should the person who had money to lend be placed under more disadvantageous circumstances than his hon. friend would be in regard to transactions in landed property? He had heard nothing which could warrant the continuance of the existing law.

Mr. T. Wilson agreed with what had fallen from the last speaker. Perhaps, in the present state of the money market, he should not be entirely disposed to support this measure; but, thinking the existing law highly objectionable, he should vote for it. In Holland, where commercial interests were well understood, there were no usury laws. The fact was, that the interest of money could never be kept at a high rate, while it was left to itself.

Captain Maberly, seeing the total inefficacy and impolicy of the existing law, would also support the measure.

Mr: F. Palmer opposed it, conceiving it to be most ruinous to the agricultural interest.

Mr. W. Smith supported the motion.

Mr. Wynn spoke on the same side, though he would be the last man to support the motion, if he thought it could

lead to those prejudicial consequences | ties was such as not to enable them to which had been anticipated.

Mr. Benett, of Wilts, thought that if ever the interest of money should rise in this country above 5 per cent, the bill would be singularly beneficial to the

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BURNING OF HINDOO WIDOWS.] Mr. Fowell Buxton rose to present a Petition from a most respectable meeting of the gentry, clergy, and other inhabitants of the county of Bedford. It was signed by two thousand four hundred individuals, and the petitioners earnestly implored the House to take such measures as may be deemed most expedient and effectual for putting an end to the practice existing in British India of Immolating Widows alive on the Funeral Pile of their Husbands. The hon. member said, that he was anxious to call the attention of the House to this petition, since it not only came from a most respectable body, but related to a question most interesting to the feelings of humanity. It appeared from the papers upon this subject, which had been laid on the table of the House, as well as from other documents equally authentic, that between eight and nine hundred widows were annually consumed alive in our East Indian possessions on the funeral pile of their husbands. Surely, then, some attention was due to the subject on the part of the House. It appeared, that some of these dreadful scenes were accompanied with circumstances of the most revolting cruelty. It often happened, that the same day which deprived a son of his father, beheld him the executioner of his mother; and that he was seen applying the torch to the pile which was to consume the bodies of both. It not unfrequently occurred, that, when the poverty of the par

procure a sufficient quantity of fuel to consume the body, the half-consumed victim of this horrible superstition was suffered to linger in the most dreadful agonies, until fresh fuel could be procured to complete the dreadful ceremony. It was revolting to every feeling of humanity to know, that the convulsive agonies of the expiring victims were made the constant subject of indecent joke and brutal merriment to the surrounding spectators. He had received a letter from a friend in India, giving a detailed account of many of those shocking spectacles. Amongst others, his friend had mentioned, that, in the instance of the burning of the widow of a village barber, the friends and relatives of the party were not able to procure sufficient fuel to burn the body, and that the legs and arms hung over the fire, untouched by the flames, while the rest of the body was slowly consuming. He would men tion another case, which proved that these horrible sacrifices were not always voluntary. A young woman, of only fourteen years of age, had been induced, by the persuasions of her friends and relatives, to consent to immolate herself on the pile of her deceased husband. She remained on it for some time; but as soon as the unfortunate woman felt the flames, her agonies became so great, that she burst from the pile and endeavoured to effect her escape. She was, however, brought back; and again placed upon the pile by her relatives. Again her resolu tion failed her, and a second time she escaped from the dreadful scene, and cast herself into a water-course to relieve her scorched limbs; but her relatives pursued her, and binding her up in a sheet placed her a third time on the burning pile. She however burst from it a third time; and then one of the surrounding spectators pursued her and brutally cut her throat. The hon. member said, he would not fatigue or disgust the House by mentioning other cases, though he could cite many. But he would just ask the House, whether these were not scenes to which, if possible, the government ought to put an end as speedily as possi ble? Another opportunity would, he trusted, occur, of bringing the subject more fully under the consideration of the House. He would therefore only add at present, that no danger could possibly arise from prohibiting this practice

throughout British India. That such a thing was practicable the House had already sufficient proof; for it had been put an end to by every other European government possessing territory in India. The Danes, the French, the Dutch, and the Portuguese, had totally prohibited it in their portions of India; and several of the Rajahs had accomplished the same object. And so also, he was persuaded, might our own government, if they would only exert a moderate portion of that promptitude of decision which they exercised on so many other occasions, not half so important. He earnestly hoped that the serious attention of his Majesty's ministers would be directed to the subject; for if something were not done in the interim, he should certainly feel it his duty to call the attention of the House to it early in the next session.

Mr. Wynn said, that there could be no difference of opinion, as to the principle upon which the hon, gentleman urged the abolition of the horrible practice referred to. All of them must alike deplore the existence of these melancholy effects of superstition. Considerable difficulty would, however, attend any practical measure which might be adopted, with a view to putting an end to this barbarous custom. The cases of successful interference on the part of other nations, which the hon. gentleman had referred to, were not parallel; since it was evident, that the same experiment might be safely made in a small possession, which could not be hazarded without great danger in a territory so immense as that which was subject to the British dominion in India. Horrible, however, as the practice was, it was one as old as any known in India. It had existed at least as far back as the time of Alexander the Great; and it had taken such deep hold of the natives, and was founded on such strong feelings connected with the religion of that country, that he feared that any attempt to put an end to it, by force, would be ineffectual. He therefore much doubted, under all the circumstances, the policy of legislative interference in a matter which it would be better to leave to the judgment and discretion of the local government.

Mr. Hume observed, that the subject had occupied the attention of the government in India, and that as strong measures of prevention had been adopted as could well be taken, without interfering with the religious prejudices of the people. By

the existing regulations, no widow could be burned alive unless by her own free consent. Certainly, no means of influence or persuasion ought to be omitted to prevent this horrible practice; but he deprecated legislative interference, as likely to lead to dangerous consequences.

Mr. Wilberforce said, it appeared clear to his mind, that if proper means were resorted to, there would be found no greater difficulty in putting an end to this horrible custom, than there had been found in putting an end to a similar practice under the government of marquis Wellesley. He was sorry to find that the practice was increasing, and had extended itself to places in which it had not formerly existed. As to the sacrifices being voluntary, how could a sacrifice be called voluntary, where the wretched victim was bound down to the stake to prevent the possibility of escape? He hoped that his hon. friend would persevere in his intention of bringing the subject again before the attention of the House.

Mr. Forbes said, he had once thought that the practice might be put down by legislative interference, but he had since had reason to alter his opinion, and thought that no regulations would be sufficient to check it. It was the opinion of the marquis of Hastings, that the means which had been taken to prevent, had tended rather to increase, than mitigate the evil. The widows would equally satisfy the barbarous superstition which prevailed in India, by being burned, drowned, or buried alive. If the existing practice could be abolished, the number of victims was not likely to be diminished. He was convinced that force would be of no avail; though he believed that a good deal might be effected by persuasion.

Mr. Money was of the same opinion, and wished the subject to be referred to a committee, that some measure might be devised for checking the horrible practice. The Petition was then read; setting forth,

"That the Petitioners contemplate with extreme concern the practice existing in British India of Immolating Widows alive on the Funeral Pile of their Husbands; that, from official Returns now before the public, it appears that the number so immolated in the Presidency of Calcutta alone, in the years 1817 and 1818, amounted to upwards of 1,500; that, assuming this calculation to be a standard

tion Mr. Owen's plan for the employment of the poor, with the view of ascertaining how far it could be applied to the employment of the peasantry of Ireland. The petition was from a very respectable body, and, as such, merited the attention of the House. Upon the merits of the particular plan recommended by Mr. Owen, he would offer no opinion; but that some plan which would give employment to the poor in that country was much called for, there could be no doubt. To those who would study the peace of that country, such an object must be of vast importance. He would take that opportunity of asking the right hon. gentleman, whether he would object to the appointment of a committee in this or early in the next session, for the purpose of inquiring into the best means of employing the poor in Ireland?

whereby to judge of the extent of the practice throughout the whole of Hindoostan, the total number may be computed at upwards of 2,000 in every year; that it further appears, by the regulations passed in India in the year 1815, that an attempt was made, to diminish the frequency of this ceremony, by restricting its use within the limits prescribed by the Shaster, which limits had, in a variety of instances, been exceeded, but that, so far from having the desired effect, this act of interference had contributed to increase the practice, by legalizing its performance in all cases specified by the Shaster; that the Petitioners would respectfully submit, that to allow a custom in any form, or under any modification whatever, which may be justly chargeable with the crime of murder, is to violate the principles on which all civil law can alone be founded and maintained, and no less involves a breach of those laws of God which demand respect from every coun-mittee. On the contrary, he would give try professing Christianity; that under these circumstances, the Petitioners earnestly implore the House to adopt such measures as may be deemed most expedient and effectual for putting an end to a practice which, so long as it is suffered to continue, cannot but be considered as an anomaly in the administration of civil law, authorizing a wasteful expenditure of human life, and compromising that character for humanity and veneration to the laws of God, which they trust will ever distinguish the government and people of this country."

The Petition was ordered to be printed.

HINDOO INFANTICIDE.] Mr. Buxton next moved, for "Copies of all correspondence which has taken place on the subject of Hindoo Infanticide, and of all proceedings of the Indian government with regard to that practice."

Mr. Wynn said, he had no objection to the motion, but he feared that the efforts of the government would be found not to have been more effectual in repressing this practice, than they had been in the case of the immolation of Hindoo widows.

The motion was agreed to.

EMPLOYMENT OF THE PEASANTRY OF IRELAND-MR. OWEN'S PLAN.] Mr. S. Rice presented a petition from the Hibernian Philanthropic Society, praying that the House would take into considera

Mr. Goulburn said, he could have no objection to the appointment of the com

such a measure his best support; but he feared that if the committee were to employ themselves in considering the practicability of Mr. Owen's plan, however benevolent the intention of that gentleman might be, they would find their time not very well bestowed. At the same time, he trusted they might be able to devise some measure which could be carried into effect.

Ordered to lie on the table.

OLIVE (STYLING HERSELF) PRINCESS OF CUMBERLAND.] Sir Gerard Noel rose for the purpose of moving that the petition which he had on the 3rd of March presented from the Lady calling herself Olive, princess of Cumberland, should be referred to a select committee. She had, he observed, been now for three years applying, but without effect, for the payment of a sum of money alleged to have been bequeathed to her by the will of the late king, which she declared to be necessary for the payment of her debts. He was afraid he should find it difficult to make himself understood. He was an old member of that House, though he was not an old speaker in it; and he feared that the cause of this lady would not be much advanced by any adventitious aid from any eloquence of his. His was not the eloquence which could make a bad cause appear good; but certainly he never would have taken up the present if he had not thought it always a good one.


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ther good or bad, however, he had undertaken it and would go through with it. He had always believed that every member of the royal family was on the civil list; and that it was not in the power of a minister to say, that a member of the royal family should have nothing to live upon. But here was a member of the royal family who had nothing to live upon. How was this matter to be settled? He had always understood, that by the British constitution, there could be no wrong without a remedy. But here was a lady suffering a great wrong, for which she had hitherto no remedy. He would now come to what he thought ought to be done in the case before the House. If she were an impostor, he claimed that ministers should protect the dignity of the royal family from the imposition. This lady was in possession of certain papers, not rejected by the public or by any tribunal, but at the same time producing no benefit to herself. He would not enter into any detail of the case-not because he had nothing to detail; but he had it in command from this royal personage (and he should call her royal until she had been proved to be otherwise), to say nothing that could be in the smallest degree offensive. He had it also in command too from this royal person to himself if no good answer were given to him, to say something that would be very strong, both | to the ministers and to the country [a laugh]. He should move for the appointment of a select committee on the petition he had presented three months ago. He had not neglected to take up the matter earlier through fear. Fear formed no part of his composition. He would pursue this lady's claim to the death, until she had obtained her rights. When it was shown that she had no claim, and not till then, he would give up the matter [Hear]. If the petition were not understood, he begged that it might be read again; for no man had a right to sit, much less to vote, upon a case until he knew the merits of it. No person who could treat such a subject with levity ought to vote upon it. To give judgment against any person without knowing why, would be still further to prove the necessity of the parliamentary reform sought for by the people. He pretended to say, for one, that he was a representative of the people; and, if a reform took place in parliament, if he did not come in again he should be very much surprised [laugh

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ter]. But while he was for reform, he, was by no means for revolution. He was one of the oldest members of the House. He had gone through the whole of Mr. Pitt's administration. He had come into parliament with "Pitt and the Constitution" on his cockade. The constitution, had been his watchword throughout; and if it had been corrupted through neglect the blame lay somewhere. Where there was a grievance it ought to be remedied. To return to the case before the House. He must say, that great blame was attributable to those who had neglected this question. I am determined (continued the hon. baronet) to rectify the matter. I am resolved to persevere. If I cannot find the means of doing it here, I will find them somewhere else—

"Flectere si nequeo Superos, Acheronta movebo."

[loud laughter]. He would here beg, that the petition of Olive princess of Cumberland, which he had had the honour to present on the 3rd of March, last might be read [It was accordingly read by the clerk]. Perhaps it might not be fit for him to enforce this question, if there were any disposition on the part of ministers to grant the select committee. He undoubtedly meant to present the case in such a form as not to be personally disagreeable to the rest of the royal family [a laugh]. There was no man in the kingdom more attached to the royal family than himself. He had worn the prince's button for many years, and had had the honour of being very intimate with his present majesty. When Prince Regent, he had visited Rutland, and had no where seen tenantry more loyal than those upon his (sir G. Noel's) estate. He was compelled to the present proceeding, and he hoped that the good sense and discretion of ministers would shew them the necessity of proving this woman an impostor; if she were so in fact. Such were the grounds on which he most pertinaciously took up the claim of this lady as a royal personage. He hoped that some hon. gentleman would second his motion for a committee, without the necessity, on his part, of saying more. He did not wish to shirk the subject, or to pretend that he knew something that he dared not speak. He did not wish to avoid the question in any way. What he wanted was, to avoid being offensive; and he had it expressly in command from the royal lady to be respectful. He would therefore conclude by moving,

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