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himself master of the subject, he felt himself quite competent to speak to the question. Having been informed of the speech which had been made by the right hon. the Secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, he certainly had conceived, and he still did conceive, that there was some compromise or connivance on the part of his majesty's government.
The amendment was negatived without a division, and the House agreed to go into the committee on Tuesday.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Monday, June 16.
SILK MANUFACTURE BILL.] The Lord Chancellor said, he had a petition put into his hands, which, as it contained nothing disrespectful in its language, and related to a measure of very great importance to the petitioners, he thought it his duty to present. It was from the operative silk-weavers of Spital-fields against the bill now in progress. With respect to the disputed objects of the manufacturers on the one hand, and of the weavers on the other, he did not profess himself to be a competent judge. The subject was important, and he would, for the present, only express his hope that those who approached that House as petitioners asking its favour and protection, would continue to deserve it, by their peaceable and orderly conduct.
The Earl of Liverpool said, that it was the full and decided conviction of those by whom the bill in question was introduced, that the alteration of the law which it proposed was absolutely necessary for the just interests of the Spital-fields manufacturers. It was equally their opinion that the bill would not, in its operation, be found to militate against the interests of the labouring weavers. Such was the principle on which the measure was founded. It, however, turned out that many of the latter class took a different view of it, and a large body of the weavers of London and Westminster had petitioned against the bill. It was his opinion and his feeling, that, before the House proceeded to adopt a measure so intéresting and important to that class of men, that they ought at least to receive a full and patient hearing. It seemed to be their impression, that the proposed alteration of the law would aggrieve them. They were, therefore, in fairness entitled to a hearing. The petitioners were a
body of men who had conducted themselves with the utmost propriety. They were a sound, orderly, loyal body of men. He spoke not from their conduct during the agitation of this measure, but on former occasions. When the poor were labouring under the pressure of scarcity or famine, and under the most trying circumstances, their conduct had been orderly and loyal. He hoped he was not, going out of his way in making these observations. Without entering more than he had done into the principle of the bill, he only asked for the petitioners the undoubted right of the subject to be heard in their own case. There existed a standing order of their lordships' House, that any bill relating to trade or commerce, should be referred in the first instance to a select committee. It was necessary that the petitioners should be heard, either by counsel at their lordships' bar, or in a select committee. He therefore proposed that the bill, under the standing order of the House, should be referred to a select committee on Wednesday next.
Lord Ellenborough said, he held in his hand two petitions, the one was signed by 179 manufacturers, the other was signed by about 10,000 persons, inhabitants of Bethnal-green, against the bill. He had heard, with great satisfaction, the observations of the noble earl on the general conduct of the petitioners. In those observations he cordially concurred. It was impossible to speak in terms of too strong commendation of the conduct of those persons-of the loyalty and good order which, for half a century, had distinguished them. They had been at all times inaccessible to those who endeavoured to turn the feelings of the people against the institutions of the country. In times of difficulty, of distress, of famine, they had been distinguished for their patience, their temper, and their respect for the laws. They had therefore no ordinary claims upon the indulgence of their lord ships. The peculiarity of the bill before their lordships was this; it brought under the consideration of parliament regulations affecting the silk trade-it proposed alterations respecting that trade at a time when that trade was not only not in a state of depression, but when it was unusually prosperous. Of the improved state of that trade their lordships would form a judgment, when he stated that the annual quantity of silk imported 21 years ago, was 830,000lb. That the quantity
stances an umpire was called in to decide between them. They then went before a magistrate, and the agreement was ratified, In fact, the regulations with respect to the silk trade differed but little from the regulations with respect to other trades. He confessed it appeared to him, that, con
capital in machinery, resting for half a century on the faith of those acts, every consideration was due to the prayer of the petitioners. It might be said that manufacturers should be allowed to employ their capital wherever they thought fit, and that there should be a limitation to the time of instituting prosecutions under the acts. Now, the journeymen had no objection that the capital of the masters should be employed wherever they thought fit, and that the period for insti tuting prosecutions under the acts should be settled at three months. But they wished to retain the principle of the bill, as to the regulation of wages. They did not wish to be left at the will of the master manufacturers, but sought for the continuation of the protection of the magistrate. To him there appeared no good reason for the repeal of those acts. If the effect of that repeal would be to extend Spital-fields, he could not view any measure with more uneasiness. He did not wish to see another Manchester growing up near the metropolis; and thought that if the bill would have that effect, it would be an effect most injurious.
in the last year was 2,500,000lb. That the duty on that material 21 years ago, was 200,000l.; that the present duty was more than 600,000l. There was no proof before their lordships that the trade stood in need of the proposed alteration. On the contrary, its progress had been rapid, and increasing. There was another pecu-sidering the parties had laid out their liarity in the present measure. The acts in question had reference only to a distance of 10 miles round the metropolis a mere speck. He verily believed they were interfered with merely to gratify the theoretical views of political economists. The alterations proposed were at least doubtful; for there was no proof that the bill would be attended with public advantage. On the other hand, the proposed alterations filled with the most gloomy apprehensions the minds of a large, deserving, and laborious class of men. If the repeal of the existing acts would produce any sensible advantage to the silk trade, it might furnish an argument in its favour; but the fact was indisputable, that the trade at present was flourishing, and stood not in need of new regulations. He could not agree with the noble earl, that the bill could ultimately be serviceable to the labouring weavers. He could not see how any alteration in the law, which would have the effect of reducing the rate of wages, could be beneficial to the labourer. It might indeed be said, that the reduction of the price would have the effect of increasing the quantity consumed. To that he would answer, that there was every reason to suppose that the domestic demand would go on increasing; and, with respect to exports, that branch of the trade was always variable, uncertain, and liable to embarrassment. He always looked on the acts in question more as a measure of police than of trade. They were, in his opinion, most efficient in preserving peace, and a good understanding between masters and journeymen. Nothing, in principle, could appear more absurd, than that the lord mayor and aldermen should regulate the scale of wages between masters and journeymen. Looking, how-government had more money than it ever, at the practical effect of that regula- wanted, it ought to remit it to the nation tion, it did not appear so absurd. Com- in taxes. He believed that the city of Lonbinations throughout the country were don did not want a new bridge, and that carried on by journeymen and by masters. it was a gross job. Every purpose of a The parties generally came to an agree- new bridge might be answered by increasment. The list of prices was made out ing the water-way of the old one, which by a committee on behalf of the journey-he understood might be effected for men and the masters, and in many in- 100,000%.
The bill was ordered to be referred to a select committee, and the petitions were referred to the same committee.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
LONDON BRIDGE BILL.] The House resolved itself into a committee on this bill. On the clause for granting 150,000. from the Consolidated Fund, by instalments, for the building of a new bridge,
Mr. Hume objected to the grant, unless an arrangement were made to secure the repayment of it to the public. If the
Mr. H. Sumner said, that if the new bridge were a job, he was the author of it, but he altogether denied that it was a job. The hon. member then entered into a variety of details, for the purpose of convincing the committee, that the present London-bridge was a nuisance to the city and ought to be taken down. He considered the sum now proposed a moderate one, and should therefore give the resolution his cordial support.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer confessed that he had originally been reluctant to make this grant to the city of London, without seeing means provided for its repayment. He considered that the building of London-bridge was not so much a local as a national object. A plan had been suggested for repaying the money by a toll, but this would have been liable to so much public inconvenience, that he had not thought it expedient to resort to this mode of repayment. After having given the subject much consideration, he had ultimately, though not without reluctance, come to the conclusion, that he was justified in acceding to the grant.
The Lord Mayor opposed the clause, and moved, that the Chairman report progress.
The House divided: For the clause 81, For the Amendment 12.
IRISH TITHES COMPOSITION BILL.] The order of the day was read for going into a committee on this bill. On the motion, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair,"
The Hon. G. Agar Ellis rose and said, that it was quite inpossible for him to allow the bill, framed as it at present was, to go into any further stage of its progress, without entering his most decided protest against it. He had hitherto endeavoured, as far as he was able, to promote and assist its progress, hoping that the objectionable parts of it might be mended, and being, as he still was, fully convinced that a complete alteration in the Tithe system of Ireland was essen
tially necessary to the well-being and tranquillity of that country. The decision of the House, however, on the last night when the bill was in a committee, in throwing out in toto the compulsory clause, had put it out of his power to concur further in any way in the prosecution of the measure. If this bill should unfortunately pass into a law, it would either be acted upon or not. If, as he believed, it would not be acted upon, it was surely a most criminal delusion on the people of Ireland, to pass it as a measure which was likely to be of service to them. If, on the other hand, it should be acted upon, it was still worse. For, burthened as it was by that most objectionable clause giving to the commissioners the power of increasing the actual revenues of the Church one-third, it could not fail greatly to increase the disaffection and discontent which at present prevailed in the sister kingdom. He felt obliged to add, and he did it with much pain, that in his opinion nothing could well be conceived much worse than the conduct of his Majesty's ministers this year with regard to Ireland. They began the session with the most flattering promises of amelioration of system, for which they received in return equally flattering promises. And now, the 16th of June was arrived, and he would venture to ask, what had they done towards performing those promises? Nothing-nothing at all-and he would prophecy, that at the end of the session, the only boon they would send over to his unhappy countrymen would be the new Insurrection act; which, if it was necessary, was so because the same infamous and temporising system of government, which had so long degraded and disgraced Ireland, was still persevered in. Upon the grounds he had stated, he should therefore oppose the Speaker's leaving the chair, and move as an amendment, "That the further consideration of this Bill be deferred till this day six months."
Mr. Goulburn defended the measure, and expressed his hope that the House would proceed to render it as perfect as possible, though some of the objects originally in his view might not be accomplished by it.
Mr. Wetherell said, that as no man could expect that the bill would ultimately pass, it was a useless waste of time to proceed night after night with the discussion of the various clauses.
Mr. Calcraft observed, that it would be but fair to let the right hon. gentleman complete the measure he had begun. If the House rejected the bill, the right hon. gentleman would only have to return to Ireland, and to tell the people there that he had had the most benevolent views towards them, but that the House had refused to let him proceed with a bill, which if perfected would have remedied all their grievances.
Colonel Barry thought it would be better to put an extinguisher on the bill at once, than hurry it through during the present session. He had no objection to proceed with the bill if it were allowed to stand over.
Mr. Ricardo urged the impossibility of fixing exactly, under any circumstances, what should be the right of the clergyman.
Mr. Wynn supported the principle of ample compensation. He begged to remind the House that in dealing with tithes in Ireland, they were not dealing merely with church property; as onethird part belonged to lay impropriators.
Sir J. Stewart said, that if the clergyman got the average of the last seven years without any addition, he would get more than he was entitled to. It would be better to put an extinguisher upon the bill at once.
Mr. Calcraft said, that if the amend
Mr. W. Bankes supported the amendment was rejected, he would himself proment, as the bill, in no shape, could be pose a modified compulsory clause. rendered palatable to him.
Mr. S. Rice concurred in the amendment, but gave government some credit for a disposition to remedy existing evils. He feared, however, that the measure was not capable of modification.
Mr. Hume contended that ministers had abandoned the ground upon which they introduced the bill. There was, besides, nothing useful in the bill. He thought, therefore, that it would be bet. ter to allow the people of Ireland to see that the delusion was complete, by discussing the whole of the Bill. Still he would vote for the amendment, if pressed to a division.
Mr. Peel contended that no delusion had been attempted by government. If the present bill were lost, he should despair of originating any one which could be satisfactory.
Mr. Abercromby considered the bill as utterly useless without the modified compulsory clause, and therefore should vote for the amendment. He attributed the rejection of that clause entirely to the right hon. Secretary's (Mr. Peel's) sitting for the University of Oxford.
The House divided: For going into the committee 51. For the Amendment 36. Majority 15.
BEER DUTIES BILL.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved the third reading of this bill.
Mr. Maberly objected to the measure as being most unjust in principle. It obliged brewers to erect the new works alluded to in the bill, at a distance from their present premises, and at a great expense
Mr. Canning admitted the inconvenience of occasionally giving the clergyman an augmentation of his income, but thought it far more dangerous to break through the rule upon which government had uniformly acted, of never compelling any transfer of property without giving the most ample indemnity. He trusted that the bill would not be lost in its present stage. If it was to be hung over to the next session, let it be first completed. Mr. Hume objected to the bill, and sugLord Ebrington supported the amend-gested the propriety of deferring it to the next session, when a committee might
to try an experiment which might not succeed. To mark his opinion of the measure, he should take the sense of the house upon it.
take into consideration the general state | commended itself to the attention of the of the beer trade. House; for, if ever any subject more particularly than another demanded the attention of parliament, it was that which concerned the administration of justice.
Mr. Monck contended, that the bill was by no means calculated to remedy the evil which it affected to remove; for though any man might erect a new brew-It was found, that in cases of that nature ery in any town, with the view of selling under the price he found there, still the magistrates would have the power of refusing licences to houses where the new beer might be sold.
CONDUCT OF CHIEF BARON O'GRADY.] The House having, on the motion of Mr. Spring Rice, resolved itself into a Committee on the Conduct of the Lord Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer,
Mr. Spring Rice said, that in presenting himself to the House, he felt how inadequate he was to the important task which he had considered it his duty to undertake, but having in the discharge of that duty undertaken it, he was aware he had no claim to any other indulgence than a patient attention to the statement which he should submit. There were, however, considerations connected with this subject, which made it of importance. The first was—and to that he should implore the most serious attention of honourable members-that this was a personal question, involving the character of a high judicial officer in Ireland; and from those who might defend that character, and above all from those who might feel disposed to affirm the resolutions which he concluded with moving, their duty to the House and the country, and to the high officer in question, required the most minute attention to the facts of the case. There were besides these, other grounds on which the question reVOL. IX.
in this country, the best attention of members was given; but in cases relating to the administration of justice in Ireland, the demands on their attention were augmented; for, assuming the case, that delinquency great or small, had found its way to the seat of justice in this country, that would not counteract the due reverence for the law, or the feeling of respect for those who administered it. But in Ireland, where unfortunately so many circumstances had concurred, for a long series of years, to create a contrary spirit, there was great danger in suffering any matter affecting the administration of justice to pass without the most strict investigation. If the House should find, that in the reports before them, there were any matters tending to diminish the respect for the laws, and for those who administered them, it was their duty to inquire into the case, and, if the facts admitted it, to clear the party charged, and restore him unsullied to the discharge of his functions. If, on the other hand, it should be found that the reports were well founded, he trusted that nothing would prevent the House from doing justice to the country. It had been stated, that this question was now a mere speculative question; and that as the fees had been abolished, it was no longer worth contemplating, in a practical point of view. He wished to God that such were the case! But, if he had not thought that this question bore upon the present and upon the future condition of Ireland, no consideration of the past would have induced him to have brought it forward. In performing the task which he had taken upon himself, he would abstain as much as he could from wounding the feelings of any individual; for he could assure the House that he was not actuated by any enmity or ill will towards the party whose conduct was implicated by his resolutions. If he had been actuated by any such motives, he would have allowed the reports to have remained uncontradicted on the table, and would not have given to chief baron O'Grady any opportunity of exonerating himself from the charges which they brought against him. Those charges were confined within a narrow compass, 3 S