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but the universal report, and a subject riment a ground for inquiry? It never of deep execration, that he who ventured was his intention to cast any blame on into this court was ruined by its proceed the lord chancellor, of whose zeal and ings. Was not that, he demanded, mat- industry he was well aware, except so far ter for consideration and inquiry? The as he was chargeable with having kept masters in Chancery were complained of that whole court and its patronage in his by the suitors, and the former complained own hands, instead of dividing them for of the solicitors. Was not this a subject the public good. The attorney-general that deserved inquiry? Ought they not had talked of the increase of business in to see where the fault really was? For the court of Chancery; but the fact was, that purpose a committee ought to be ap- that there were as many bills filed annupointed, free from the presence of mas- ally, within 200, in lord Hardwicke's time ters in Chancery. Had such a committee as at present. He came into office in been formerly granted him, he would have 1737; in 1745 there were 1863 filed, in shown, that cases had remained undecided | 1746, 2032. There were now 33 millions for 30 years, which with a little attention sterling in the hands of the accountantmight have been settled in ten days. general; whereas, in lord Hardwicke's Thirty-four years had elapsed since he time, the amount was only three millions. practised in the court of Chancery, and The hon. member then proceeded to gentlemen whom he then knew to be en- enumerate several cases in which the extangled in its proceedings had not yet pense of legal proceedings greatly deteescaped from it. In short, there was no riorated the property of the suitor. In getting out of it. And yet the attorney- one instance, an unfortunate man stated general had described it to be the most to him that he had a sum of 90/. contestexcellent court in the world! He admit- ed in Chancery, but that it would cost 1107. ted that some business was done in the to get it out. Another person, who sued vice-chancellor's court. It would be for a sum of 2,000l., which was disputed, most strange if that were not the case. had netted but 700l. Were not grieBut that court was not likely to expedite vances such as these fit subjects for rigobusiness; for individuals would always be rous inquiry? The aggregate mass of anxious for the lord high Chancellor's misery which was thus inflicted demanded opinion. Where there were two contend- the interference of parliament. When ing courts, litigating parties would never the suitor was robbed, whether by the be contented till they obtained the opi- slowness of the Chancellor, or by any nion of the higher jurisdiction. He had thing else connected with the system, he given his opinion most distinctly to the had a right to demand redress from parlord chancellor on this subject. He had liament. The House was the guardian of told that noble and learned lord, that the the public purse and of the public liberbusiness was too extensive for any one ty, and it ought to be the strenuous proindividual; and he had expressed a wish, tector of the property of the subject. that a portion of it should be allotted, not He was convinced that if a list of persons to a deputy, for that created too much confined for debt during the last fourteen delay, but to a regular court. He had years were made out, it would be found also urged the separation of the bankrupt that the misfortunes of one-fourth of cases from the ordinary business of the them arose from difficulties occasioned court of Chancery; but this could not be by their being plunged into Chancery. done. What was the consequence? Why, What was the reason that people comthe consequence was, that every day the plained of that court universally? bankrupt petitions stood first on the pa- Would such be the case if business were per. What was the reason? Simply be- properly conducted? He knew an incause the profits attending those petitions stance where an individual, who had a were too great to be parted with. As claim for 4,000l. had asked his advice as for the proceeding of the House of Lords to the best means of procuring it. He on the subject, their Report was one of told him that the most eligible mode the most flimsy compositions he had ever would be, to submit his claim, as it was read. The vice-chancellor's court was disputed, to a reference. The person to to have done every thing; but had it whom he alluded made the proposal, but cured the evil? On the contrary, the it was refused; and he was peremptorily evil still continued in greater force than told, "If you don't agree to my terms, Was not the failure of that expe- I will hang you up for twenty years in


He would reject their support with dis dain. He would tell them, "Without me you are a rope of sand, and you shall de fend me, or cease to be a ministry."

Mr. W. Courtenay said, that no desire existed on his side of the House to avoid discussion; but it did not follow that hon. gentlemen might choose to be pointed at, and called on to speak at the convenience of their opponents. He therefore begged his hon. friend to withdraw his motion, and consent to an adjournment till to-morrow.

the court of Chancery!" And in truth | it was in his power to do so. But this was a state of things which should not be suffered to exist. This, however, was the court in which, as the attorney-general stated, there was no delay, where no injustice was inflicted-which was, in fact, a complete legal elysium. He entreated the House to agree to the motion, seeing that a most complete ground had been laid for a full investigation of the subject. Mr. Denman said, that as this was a most important question, and as he observed that some hon. gentlemen on the other side had been busily engaged in taking notes, he wished the House to have the benefit of them, and would therefore move, that the debate be adjourned till to-morrow.

The House divided: For the adjournment, 59; against it, 120. After this motion had been disposed of, Mr. Grey Bennet moved, "That this debate be adjourned till Friday." Upon this the House divided: Ayes, 49; Noes, 133. Mr. Ross next moved, "That the debate be adjourned till this day six months."

Mr. M. A. Taylor warmly opposed the motion. Was this, he asked, to be the answer to the suitors who were suffering martyrdom by the delays of the court of Chancery? Were they to be told that their complaints should be investigated six months hence? Such a motion was no friendly act to the noble and learned lord at the head of that court. It was to be represented that he, pure and unsul lied as he was, trusted his defence to a six months' adjournment. He (Mr. T.) had personally no other feelings but those of regard and respect towards that noble and learned lord; but, if he were his bitterest enemy-if he wished to destroy his well-earned fame-if he wished to see him go down the page of history tainted and dishonoured what course better adapted to attain that result could he pursue, than the motion brought forward by the noble lord's professed friends on the other side? He believed the noble and learned lord was essential to the existence of the motley administration of which he was the chief member. It was he who cemented the tinsel patchwork of the orange-liberalprotestant-catholic administration of the day; and his coadjutors were now going to declare, that they dared not defend the noble and learned lord's conduct on just grounds! The noble and learned lord would treat his friends as they deserved. VOL. IX.

The motion was then withdrawn, and the debate was adjourned till to-morrow.


Thursday, June 5.

BARILLA DUTIES.] Mr. Denison presented a petition from several merchants and importers of Barilla. The hon. member stated, that previously the duty on the importation of barilla had been 117. per ton, but last session an act was passed which reduced the duty to 5l. 5s. The kelp manufacturers of Scotland had sent a memorial to the Treasury, praying that the duty might be raised again, and he was sorry to understand that the Treasury was inclined to lend a favourable ear to the request. The petitioners prayed that the question might be referred to a committee, to inquire whether it was expedient to raise the present duties on barilla. It was but fair that those traders who had sent out orders for barilla, on the supposition that the duty would continue at five guineas, should be allowed time to revoke their orders. He could not help observing, that nothing tended more to distract the principles of commerce, than the frequent changes which occurred in the policy of ministers on subjects relating to trade.

Lord G. Somerset vindicated the con duct of government, and said that the distresses of the petitioners had been much exaggerated.

Mr. Bernal complained of the vacillating policy of ministers, on matters relating to trade.

Mr. Campbell said, that the distresses of the petitioners were greatly exaggerated.

Mr. Ricardo said, that whatever the distresses of the kelp manufacturers might be, ministers were bound to have taken that circumstance into consideration before they lowered the duties on barilla.

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believed that those distresses were caused rather by the reduction of the salt tax, than by the competition of the barilla merchants.

Mr. C. Grant said, that if the intended increase of the barilla duties was unjust, the lowering of those duties last year was a gross act of injustice to the kelp manufacturers; because it was provided in the salt tax repeal bill, that no alteration should take place in the barilla duties; and yet, in a month afterwards, a bill was introduced which had the effect of reducing them one half.

Mr. Hudson Gurney said, that this did seem a measure of most crying injustice, as well as of impolicy. The kelp manufacturers, on their own shewing, would reap little benefit from it, and all the advantage they appeared to hope to reap from it, was the compelling the purchase of their bad articles, which they found unsaleable when better was to be had. He was informed that good kelp still sold readily, and with no greater reduction in price than had taken place in barilla. But, in fact, the barilla was chiefly necessary to the soap manufacture in London, where kelp never had been used; and it was most monstrous to tax the soap of the people of England-an article of the first importance to the health, the cleanliness, and the comfort of the community, because bad kelp, from certain parts of the coasts of Scotland and Ireland, would not sell.

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said, in any degree regret the course which he had adopted last night, in supporting the adjournment of the question till this day, in order that the subject might be fully gone into before the House came to a decision upon it. He was satisfied that if they decided before further and better information was given, than had been afforded last night by the speech of the hon. and learned gentleman opposite, it would afford a just cause of general discontent in the country. To him it appeared, that the perspicuous statements of his hon. and learned friend who made the motion, were by no means satisfactorily answered by the speech of the attorney-general; but even assuming that that hon. and learned gentleman had given a satisfactory explanation of the case, there were still unanswered the additional and important facts contained in the speech of the hon. member for Durham (Mr. M. A. Taylor), who had given so much of his attention to this important subject-who had so often moved for committees of inquiry_into it-and who had detailed to the House the tricks and stratagems by which his object had been defeated. The additional facts stated by his hon. friend, he repeated, called for an answer from hon. gentlemen opposite, and particularly us they erroneously seemed to think that the statements made on his (Mr. Denman's) side of the House, implicated the personal as well as judicial character of the lord chancellor. In either sense in which they took those statements, though only meant in one, it was incumbent on them that that noble and learned lord's character should be fully vindicated. He could not well account for the wish of hon. gentlemen opposite to put an end to further discussion upon this subject. If they intended to consent to the committee of inquiry, where all the matters alleged could be fairly gone into, then, indeed, their conduct in wishing not to protract the discussion would be consistent and proper. But, if they wished to stop all inquiry, to refuse any means by which the evils complained of might be ascertained to exist or not, could any thing, he would ask, be more strange, than their suffering such statements as had been made to go forth to the country without one word of contradiction or comment? When he stated, that the speech of his hon. and learned friend had Mr. Denman rose. He could not, he received no sufficient answer in that of

Mr. E. Ellice said, it was matter of regret to see regulations affecting trade brought in one day and repealed the next-a policy which embarrassed commercial transactions. It had been admitted, that the advantage of the measure to the kelp manufacturers was doubtful: but the injury to merchants and importers of barilla was positive. It had latterly been the policy of ministers to place restrictions on importation-a policy which was most injurious. The measure, if carried, would be fraught with injustice.

Ordered to lie on the table.

COURT OF CHANCERY.] On the order of the day for resuming the adjourned debate upon Mr. J. Williams's motion, "That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Arrear of Business in the Court of Chancery, and the Appellate Jurisdiction of the House of Lords, and the causes thereof,"

the system to the bottom, with the view to its remedy. Let honourable members recollect the immense mass of property which now stood in the name of the Accountant-General of the court of Chancery-a sum not less than thirtythree millions! Perhaps there was not one man who then heard him, who was not, in some one way or another, connect

the attorney-general, he did not mean to deny the great acutenesss and subtilty of that answer; but it was acute and subtle only in being an answer to a charge which was never made-in being a defence of a character which had not been attacked. The hon. and learned gentleman went upon the assumption, that a personal attack had been made upon the first law-officer of the country-ed with proceedings in that court, as the most powerful subject in the state. In that view the hon. and learned gentleman's speech was ingenious and correct; but it seemed strange that he should make such an assumption. In the speech of his hon. and learned friend, the mover, there was not a word said, or an imputation made, of personal corruption in the high officer alluded to. No such idea, he was satisfied, had entered his hon. and learned friend's mind. No such conduct had been even remotely imputed to the noble and learned lord; and, if there was any one thing which more particularly than another characterised his hon. and learned friend's speech, it was the temper and moderation with which it was urged to the House; for on no occasion, he believed, was such a detail of grievances laid before them with less implication of personal character than on the present.

His hon. and learned friend's statements were powerful and affecting, and calculated to impress every man in the country to whom they might have been correctly reported, with the existence of crying evils and the necessity of their immediate remedy. The House of Commons was, in his opinion, in some degree pledged to institute an inquiry, by the steps which they took upon a former occasion. On that occasion, a new officer had been created in consequence of the great mass of business to be done, and the arrears which had accumulated. If it was now notorious that those arrears had increased, notwithstanding the former attempt to remedy, then was the House bound to inquire into the cause of this unfortunate state of things, which had existed for many years. It was of the utmost importance to know whether the fault of the delays complained of rested in the conduct of the individuals acting in the court, or arose out of the system adopted by the court itself. If the former, then it might be necessary to bring some other measure before the House; but if the latter was the cause of the evil, then it would be necessary to probe

guardians, or trustees, or otherways, in which they might represent the interest of others, and possibly many more directly connected with it, as parties to some suit which hung up in the Court some nine or ten years after the right of a party was admitted, but of which the final judgment might be delayed, and the individual prevented, by the system of the court, from possessing his right, until he was not in a condition to enjoy it. Let honourable members recollect what was the situation of a great part of the country with respect to that court. Scarcely a family of property was there, of which some member was not interested in proceedings in that court, and in habits of daily intercourse with it; and who, when taking leave of this world for ever, had not to bequeath to that family his Chancery suit, with all its doubts and uncertainties. Let the House recollect, that it was the cases of this numerous class, the welfare of them and their descendants, which were now brought before them for full and complete consideration.-His hon. and learned friend was last night taunted with having brought all his cases from the office of one solicitor. He could not understand the cheers of hon. gentlemen opposite when that fact was stated. Surely it was not meant to be insinuated, that one office was worse off than another with respect to its Chancery proceedings, or that any distinction was made in the distribution of justice in that court, between the clients of one solicitor and another! That would be a reflection upon the court which he supposed no person would make. If, then, six or seven cases were cited, of delays almost miraculous in the administration of justice-if instances of the putting off the adjudication of the rights of the individuals, till they were no longer in a condition to enjoy themif, he repeated, these were found to have occurred in the office of one solicitor, he saw no reason why they should not be admitted as specimens of the natur

sequence of these freqnent puttings off, the attorney or solicitor, of one of the parties, that inferior officer of that high court, ventured to write a private letter on the subject to the lord chancellor, the highest judge, the most powerful subject in the land. There was certainly a great impropriety in this act. There was a great impropriety in answering it privately-an impropriety only short of the meanness, which no judge should ever descend to, of alluding on the bench to an anonymous letter. A private answer was open to the suspicion of corruption; not that there could be corruption in this case; not that the slightest idea of that kind entered his mind. But the only answer should be, to call the party into open court to be heard. But this was not an anonymous letter. It was signed by the party writing it, and was to this effect: "My lord; my clients have great reason to complain of the great injury suffered by them in consequence of these causes not keeping their station at the head of your lordship's paper."-And why had they not kept their places? They had a right to be at the head of the paper, and no person should have removed them. And when the House heard of such a case, it would of itself be a sufficient ground of inquiry, as to how far the conduct of the officers of the court should be allowed to interfere with, and retard the business of suitors. The writer of the letter went on to say-" It is now nearly seven years since they have been waiting for your lordship's judgment; and upwards of two years and a half ago, they had arrived at the top of the paper; at which place I heartily entreat they may, until you can decide upon them, remain. There is a fund in court of 10,000l. and upwards, locked up until your lordship decides in these causes. It is painful to me to state to your lordship, that I have learnt from authority which I have no reason to doubt, that the infant, for whose benefit these suits were instituted twenty years ago, died of a broken heart, on account of being kept out of his property"-yes, this unfortunate infant, like the infant in the play, who, in violation of the unities, was an infant in the first act, and a greybeard before the fifth-this unfortunate person, who was an infant at the commencement of the suit, grew up to maturity, and perished before its close-" and I have to contend against the bitter feelings of his relations."

of the proceedings in the court of Chancery, or why it should be inferred, that there were none such in other offices. One thing was certain-it would be impossible in that House to go through all the cases which had occurred, and which might be cited; and if they were cited, many of them (he spoke it with all respect) could not be understood by hon. gentlemen, who could not be supposed to have given much attention to such subjects. In what had been cited, however, he thought there was quite enough to astonish any man, with the fact that such proceedings could take place in a country like England-that such evils should be suffered to exist, without an effort to ascertain their cause, and to provide a remedy. It had, amongst other things, been objected to his hon. and learned friend, that he had given no previous notice of the particular cases he intended to cite. Who ever heard of such an objection before? Surely, when his hon. and learned friend gave notice of a motion on the subject of the practice of the court of Chancery, it must be presumed that he would cite some cases. But, suppose he had given notice of the particular cases he intended to mention, in common courtesy he ought to expect some notice in return of the kind of answer which was intended to be made to them. There would then be a reply next a rejoinder; and thus so much time would be taken up in previous pleading on both sides, that no time would be left to bring the question before the House. The hon. and learned attorney-general had mentioned the case of Ware and Horwood, as one of which some notice ought to have been given. But surely if it was in the court so late as 1821, an allusion to it now could not be said to have taken any one by surprise. As he had mentioned this case, and as perhaps there were some hon. members who were not in the House when it was first stated, he would, for their information, repeat it. It appeared, from the affidavit of one of the parties, that it had been in the court nine years-that it had stood at the head of his lordship's paper two years and a half ago, but that it had so often been postponed for other causes which had no right to be there, and judgment so long delayed, as to have produced fatal consequences on one party immediately concerned, which he would notice hereafter. In con

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