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bring up the bill without any provision for compensation, and that he would do his best to resist the introduction of any such provision. It was not his intention to endeavour to pass the bill in the present session. All that he meant to propose was, that it should be read a first and second time, go through the committee, for the purpose of having the blanks filled up, be printed, and then stand over until the next session.

Mr. Scarlett said, he could give no information to the House, with respect to any call for compensation, in consequence of this bill. He thought the general principle of themeasure was good. His noble friend had had the goodness to communicate to him the general principle of the bill, and he, at present, certainly saw no material objection to it. So far as the measure had been explained to him, it appeared calculated to produce great public benefit. Ordered to be printed.

tion; was the way in which the assessors were to be paid. If by fees, there was great danger lest the judge should huddle over cases with too much rapidity; if by the number of days of sitting, the opposite danger was incurred; namely, that he would delay the completion of every case as long as possible. It had been thought much the best plan, therefore, to pay the assessor a fixed salary, out of the county rate, to which a fund arising from certain small fees, to be paid by the suitors in these county courts, might furnish sufficient means for that purpose, with little or no additiona! burthen to the population at large. He believed he had stated the general points to which the attention of the committee had been called. There were one or two other subjects connected with the question, on which he begged to say a few words. As by the means thus recommended, a cheaper mode of recovering debts would be furnished to the tradesman than that, which he at present possessed, it was not COMBINATION OF WORKMEN BILL.] too much to expect from him in return, Mr. Littleton presented a petition from the that he should use more diligence in Coal and Iron masters of Dudley, against a collecting and suing for them. It was bill brought in by the hon. member for proposed, therefore, that a statute of Coventry to repeal the different acts relimitation should be passed, the term of lating to the Combination of Workmen, which should be two years; that no action and for settling disputes between Masters should be maintained in these county and Journeymen. He gave credit to the courts on any cause of more than two hon. gentleman for his motives; but it -years standing. He knew it might be was a measure full of minute and vexasaid, that this provision would occasion tious regulations, which no man conconsiderable alarm. But why should it nected with the manufacturing_districts do so? When a tradesman allowed his could possibly approve of. The hon. customer more than two years' credit, it member for Coventry talked of the adwas either because he could not get at vantages which would accrue from referhim, to which case it was not intended ring his bill to a committee above stairs. that the statute of limitation should be It was unquestionably desirable that the applicable, or because he confided in him, whole subject, and not such a bill as the in which case he would never proceed by hon. member had concocted, should be law at all. There was another point on referred to the consideration of a select which he was well aware there would be committee, to decide what portion of them some difference of opinion. It would be it might appear necessary to repeal, and said, that as a great quantity of business what part of them the interest of the manuwould be taken out of the courts of West- facturers required to be preserved. Before minster-hall, compensation would be re- that committee, all parties should be quired. To any such proposition he was heard. The hon. member might perhaps decidedly adverse. Convinced as he was, say, that the bill would go through a that the present state of the law was an committee in the regular course: but it absolute denial of justice, he could never was a different thing to submit the bill to allow, that any man had a vested right in a committee composed of gentlemen the denial of justice. Nothing would whose experience, whose habits, and induce him to propose any such compen-whose abilities, rendered them peculiarly -sation: but, as a practical man, he knew fit to decide on it, and to lay it before a very well that he might be forced to committee in the ordinary course of busiadopt such a proposition. On this, how-ness, merely to consider its details. He ever, he was determined, that he would now gave the hon. member notice, that VOL. IX. 2 N

whenever he moved the second reading of thebill, he should move, as an amendment, "that it be read that day six months." He wished to know whether the hon. member had any objection to postponing the measure for a few days?

Mr. P. Moore was glad the hon. gentleman had stated his objections to the bill, because, from the moment he had brought it in, he had endeavoured to provoke the most extended inquiry. Although the bill had been printed five weeks, he had not asked the opinion of any hon. member with respect to it; neither did he intend to do so for some time to come. As to a further postponement of the measure, he had no objection to that course, if it were necessary for the purpose of procuring information. He begged leave to ask, from whom the petitions against the bill came ? They came from the master-manufacturers, who were opposed to those classes for whose security he wished to provide; namely, the operative workmen. When the hon. member came forward with his hundreds who petitioned against the bill, he must be allowed to point to his millions who were in favour of it. The master manufacturers had infinitely more trouble, under the existing law, than they could possibly have under that which he proposed. He believed that nineteen-twentieths of the poor-rates were occasioned by the pinchings which the rich manufacturers inflicted on the wages of their .workmen. If the operative manufacturers were properly paid, the products of agriculture and of the loom would prosper, and there would be little or no poor-rates at all. If one farthing a day were added to the wages of the 5,000,000 of the manufacturers who were employed in this country, it would amount to a total of 2,040,000l. annually. For his own part, he was certain this bill would do much good. He cared not whether gentlemen in office or out of office carried it into effect, so that it was adopted. The chief objects of his bill were, first, to repeal several obsolete laws. The judges themselves had condemned many of these laws; and, if he even stopped at that point, the bill would be beneficial. It next provided for the hiring and paying of workmen; and it provided also for the regulation of wages. The power of the regulation was, by the bill, taken out of the magistrates' hands, and left with the parties themselves; who, under particular

circumstances, were to have recourse to reference. The bill had cost him much time, trouble, and expense; and he trusted his exertions would not be thrown away. If, when it went to the committee up stairs, he could not convince the hon. member for Staffordshire, that its principle was a good one, he would give it up. But he would never give up the fact that he (Mr. Peter Moore) was the person who had brought forward such a measure.

Mr. S. Wortley thought the hon. member for Coventry deserved the thanks of the country for having brought the subject under the notice of parliament. Certainly some alteration was necessary in these laws; and he believed the Combination act, whenever it had been appealed to, had constantly recoiled on the masters; therefore the sooner it was got rid of the better. He should have felt much more inclination to vote for the present bill, if it had only gone to the repeal of existing laws; but it went a great deal further, as it contained many new provisions which ought to be seriously considered before the bill was passed.

Lord Stanley intreated the hon. member for Coventry not to press on this bill. In his opinion, it ought to go to a committee above stairs, there to be thoroughly examined, and then stand over until next session; which would give the manufacturing districts an opportunity of understanding all the provisions which it was intended to propose. It would be a hazardous thing to do away at one sweep with forty-four statutes, without much previous consideration and inquiry. He had read the bill, but he had not read the pamphlet which the hon. member for Coventry had disseminated with it.

Mr. Huskisson was bound in justice to say, that the hon. member for Coventry had acted in a manner quite consistent with the course which he had stated, at the commencement of the session, it was his intention to pursue. The hon. member had then said, that he would introduce the bill, and afterwards leave it to a committee up stairs. He concurred with others in thinking, that the House was under an obligation to the hon. member for agitating this subject, and bringing it under the notice of the House. He had, it appeared, drawn up a kind of history of the minute, absurd, ridiculous and mischievous regulations, which had, from time to time, been introduced into the Statute book on the subject of interference

between the master and the workman. But he must say, that to attempt to remove all the regulations which were contained in forty-four acts of parliament-to correct, at one sweep, a system full of complication and annoyance-was next to impossible. In fact, the hon. member had himself added to the complication of the system. In endeavouring to rectify it, he had fallen into the very error which he deprecated; for his bill contained regulations so minute, so inapplicable to existing circumstances, and, in many instances, so impossible to be carried into effect, that instead of having forty-four acts of parliament to deal with, some of which had fallen into disuse, it would be found that this one bill was enough to control, embarrass, and perplex the regulations of any trade or manufacture. He wished every circulation to be given to the bill, and to the still more valuable information, which, he understood, accompanied it; but he thought it would be necessary to pause before they agreed to so extensive a measure. The hon. member for Staffordshire had, he perceived, the pamphlet in his hand; but where it was to be procured he (Mr. H.) did not know. He hoped the hon. member would not press the bill this session; but would let the mass of information he had collected go forth to the country, that the minds of those who were interested in the measure might be directed to the subject. The country was much obliged to him for the information he had collected; since he had, it seemed, in comparatively few pages given the history of so many acts of liament. If the hon. member acceded to this proposition, he might, in the early part of next session, move for a committee, by whom the whole subject might be investigated.


Mr. Dugdale said, the hon. member for Coventry had asserted that his measure was generally approved of. Now, he also had received communications on the subject, and from them it appeared that those who would be affected by the measure were much alarmed at it.

Mr. P. Moore said, he knew the value of the communications which the hon. member had received better than the hon. gentleman himself did. His correspondents told the hon. gentleman the truth, but not the whole truth. He was ready to stake his life, his name, and his character, that if the bill were adopted it would afford the greatest possible relief to the

country. As to postponing the second reading, he hoped the hon. member for Staffordshire would allow him until tomorrow to consider of the expediency of doing so.

Mr. Littleton said, he had no objection to the immortality which the hon. member for Coventry promised himself, in consequence of his bill and pamphlet. For the benefit of those gentlemen who did not know where to find the latter, he begged to state that it was on sale at No. 24, Bridge-street, Westminster.

Mr. Philips said, his objection to the bill was, that it contained a number of restrictions between workmen and employers which would be injurious to both parties. The regulations were not applicable to existing circumstances, and would produce an effect exactly the reverse of that which the hon. member for Coventry intended.

Ordered to lie on the table.

FELO DE SE BILL.] Mr. Lennard said, that he had little to say in introducing his motion for leave to bring in a bill "To alter and amend the Laws relating to the Interment of the Remains of Persons felo de se," as he understood no opposition was intended to be made to it. As the law now stood, a person felo de se was deprived of the rites of burial, and exposed to the indignity of having a stake driven through his body. The infliction of this odious and disgusting ceremony was not, he believed, enjoined by any written enactment, but by an old custom. By the canon law, three classes of persons were deprived of Christian burial; these were, persons who had been guilty of felo de se, excommunicated persons, and those who had not received baptism. It was only in the case of felo de se that he wished to interfere, to abolish the practice of running a stake through the body, &c.; for he meant to leave the burial to be performed in private wherever it might be thought proper.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.

SHERIFF OF DUBLIN-INQUIRY INTO HIS CONDUCT.] The House having again resolved itself into a committee to inquire into the conduct of the Sheriff of Dublin, sir Robert Heron in the chair, The right hon. William Conyngham Plunkett, a member of the House; was examined in his place

By Mr. Calcraft.-Is it the practice for the

law officers of the Crown, in Ireland, to order magistrates to commit in any particular form? -I never heard of such a practice, and I should suppose no such practice can exist.

In the case of Forbes, did the law officers of the Crown order major Sirr to commit capitally? -Certainly not; the law officers of the Crown gave their opinion to the magistrates that it would be right to commit capitally, but I am sure that in that case no order, or anything equivalent to an order, was given by them to the magistrates. It is a judicial act on the part of the magistrate; he must exercise his own discretion, and rest upon his own responsibility; I conceive it would be a great violation of duty in him to relinquish his own judgment to that of any other person; and I conceive it would be a very improper thing, on the part of any other person to give him a direction.

Are you to be understood, that the law officers of the Crown merely expressed their opinion upon the evidence?-Merely so.

Would you think a magistrate acted properly in committing on the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, on evidence taken before them, without himself examining that evidence and having it regularly sworn and reduced into the form of informations before him?-I should think that he acted very irregularly and improperly in so doing.

commission, and the bills being sent up to the grand jury, they were sent down to us, and we were desired to bring the persons before us, and to swear them to them, they being put into the shape of informations, and to bind them over to appear on the trial, which we did;" then in another answer, he says, "when these notes of informations came before the magistrates to swear, we had of course the witness before us; we interrogated him again; he swore to the informations, and, in many instances, in doing so, he altered the notes of examinations, as before taken; in several instances he altered them considerably. It never was proposed to us to swear those informations at all until subsequently to the committals, when we had the witnesses before us, and when we were directed to have the witnesses before us in the first instance." When the committals were made, were all the informations that were taken in the absence of the magistrates laid before the magistrates?--From the answer which has been read to me, as given by Mr. Graves, it should seem that they were not; but the answer given by Mr. Graves is the first intimation of that fact I have received, to the best of my recollection.

You were understood, in reply to a question before put, to have said, that there were no orders given to the magistrates; were the maDid major Sirr state any opinion contrary to gistrates advised by the law officers of the that of the law officers of the Crown, or against Crown to commit the prisoners capitally?— the capital commitment?—I never heard that According to my recollection, I expressed to he did, unless at the bar here (if he did so major Sirr, who was the only magistrate with then); I never had the slightest intimation whom I had any communication upon the subthat he at all differed in opinion from the lawject of the committals, my opinion, and that officers of the Crown. of the law officers of the Crown, that the comBy Col. Barry-Were several minutes of exa- mittal should be for a conspiracy to murder. minations, or informations, taken in the ab- It is necessary I should explain a former ansence of the magistrates, before the law offi-swer, to which the right hon. member has alcers of the Crown?-There were several exami-luded, referring to the circumstance of the nations taken in the absence of the magistrates; after the witnesses had been sworn, in several instances the magistrates were absent during the procedure of the examinations.

Have you any recollection of the magistrates having been desired to withdraw?-I do not recollect that being the case.

One of the magistrates has stated, that he swore the witness and then withdrew; was it the practice that the witness was introduced into the room with the law officers of the Crown and sworn by the magistrate; that the magistrate then withdrew; that then the witness was examined, and a memorandum made of his deposition, and that before those depositions were sent to the magistrate, the magistrate was called upon to commit ?-That statement involves a great number of particulars; I do not know whether the right hon. member means to put that as a question.

Mr. Graves, in his evidence, states, "I was desired to swear a witness; I did swear the witness, and then withdrew, and the notes of the examinations were then taken: they did not take the shape of an information sworn before a magistrate, but several days before the

depositions being taken from the witnesses after the magistrates had withdrawn; I think it necessary to mention that that happened in some instances, in others the magistrate was present; in many others the informations were regularly taken before the magistrate. In the instances in which the examination was pur-, sued in the absence of a magistrate, that was an examination conducted, as I consider, for the purpose of giving information to the law officers of the Crown, in order to enable them to form their opinion as to the circumstances of the case, and the mode of prosecution, but certainly was not intended by them as the depositions upon which the magistrate was to act when he came to commit. I conceive that it was the duty of the magistrate, before he committed, to examine those depositions, to have them reduced to the regular form of informations, and to have a security taken from the parties who made them, to prosecute. In the case of the two committals for the capital charge, which were made by Mr. Gabbett, I believe that was done; in the case of the committal made by major Sirr, I now learn that that was not done; but I conceive that the

doing that was the business of major Sirr, and a matter in which I had no kind of concern. What was the use of filling up the notes of informations afterwards, if that examination was only intended for the purpose of giving information to the law officers of the Crown? -I cannot say what was major Sirr's object in doing it, after he had made out the committal; it could be neither a justification for the committal, nor could it answer any good purpose, but that was done without any communication with me; I had no communication with major Sirr, but one in which I gave him my opinion as to the nature of the offence.

mory, whether on the Monday following I saw major Sirr, or not, but I have a strong recol→ lection that on the Saturday evening that opinion was communicated to him.

Did you see major Sirr more than once in those proceedings ?-If I were to speak in my own recollection I should say only once, but I have been talking to Mr. Goulburn, who says, I saw him twice in his presence; my recollection is only negative, and Mr. Goulburn's is positive, therefore I think his is right.

You were understood to say, that the opinion of the law officers of the Crown was communicated to major Sirr upon a particular day, Were the magistrates desired to remain in from which an inference is drawn that a prethe room during the examination of the wit-vious conversation had taken place, is that nesses, or did they withdraw?—I have no re-inference correct, or was the whole one transcollection of their being desired to withdraw, nor have I a recollection of their being desired to remain; I cannot tax my memory upon the subject.

Did major Sirr represent to you at that time, that he did not think the charge made out as for a capital offence?-Never; at that or at any time.

By Mr. Bright.-Are you aware that George Graham was at any time committed only for a misdemeanor?—I rather believe so; I think that appears by the committals which are on the table.

Are you aware, that George Graham, as appears by the committals, was afterwards committed for conspiring with divers other persons to kill and murder his excellency Richard marquis Wellesley ?-I believe he was, by Mr. Gabbett.

Are you aware, that both those committals were by Mr. Gabbett ?-I think so.

action?-What I mean to say is, that on the Saturday evening the opinion was communicated to major Sirr, and 1 believe by me; I believe also by the solicitor-general, but what conversation passed I cannot say.

Had any consultation taken place between the law officers of the Crown, in respect of any opinion to be given to major Sirr ?-Conversation took place between the law officers of the Crown upon the opinion to be given; but whether it was with reference to its being given to major Sirr, or to any other magistrate, I cannot particularly say. I believe major Sirr happened to be the person to whom it was communicated, because he resided in the castle, and was therefore on the spot.

Had major Sirr applied for the opinion of the law officers of the Crown upon the subject? -I understood that the magistrates had applied to government on the subject of the mode in which they were to act; I do not recollect major Sirr personally having applied.

Did the magistrates at the same time that they applied to government, lay before the government the informations they had received? I-I am not competent to say; according to the best of my recollection, the informations that. had been taken before the police magistrates, were communicated to the law officers of the Crown.

The first committal was on the 15th of Dec. 1822, and the second on the 23d Dec. 1822; had you had any communication with respect to the committal of George Graham, with Mr. Gabbett in that interval?—It may be so; but have no distinct recollection on the subject. Can you inform the committee, how it happened that that second committal was made? -My recollection is not so distinct as to enable me to state, but I think it appears from Mr. Gabbett's evidence, that the opinion of the law officers of the Crown was given, that those persons should be capitally committed.

Did you as one of the law officers of the Crown give that opinion?—I did as a law officer of the Crown, give that opinion as to those three persons; I do not recollect communicating it to Mr. Gabbett personally.

Do you recollect what passed with major Sirr upon the subject of those committals?No, I cannot distinctly trace it; I think major Sirr came into the secretary's room at the castle, the solicitor-general, Mr. Townsend, Mr. Goulburn, and myself, being present, on the Saturday evening, the committals were not made out until the Monday, I think; on the Saturday evening about five or six o'clock, he came, and that at that time the opinion was communicated to him; I cannot tax my me

Were there any other informations in the possession of the law officers of the Crown, that were not in the possession of the magistrates?-None but those that have been already alluded to, if they can be said not to have been communicated.

Was the opinion given by the law officers of the Crown, given upon those informations which were in the possession of the magistrates as well as upon those informations of which you have spoken, and which probably were not in their possession?-The opinions of the law officers of the Crown were founded upon the whole of the evidence, as well as the informations taken before the magistrates, as the evidence laid before them in the way already stated, in the absence of the magistrates.

Did you inform the magistrates with whom you communicated, that you advised them upon more information than they themselves

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