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consumed on the premises in these houses were allowed. He thought the measure had been productive of good and not of evil; but when the Legislature had neglected to educate the people, and had done everything to demoralise them, was it to be expected, when a restraint was removed, that at first some excess was not to be expected ? The act ought to have a fair trial, and if it had been proved, as it had, that crime had diminished since its passing, why was the subject now brought forward? The Beer Act had, at least, had one good effect, it had diminished the evils arising out of the licensing system; but if the act were repealed, would not the old evils again arise? Was there not on the part of magistrates, and those who made them, a desire to invest them again with the power and influence which they had formerly so improperly enjoyed?
Sir J. Guest said, that in his part of the country he knew the new beer-shop system was much condemned, and that an alteration of it was loudly called for, not only by the better classes, but by a great portion of the poor. In one village, that he could mention, there were at least one hundred beer-shops, and their existence had led to every species of disorder and immorality.
Mr. Brolherton fully concurred that the subject ought to be inquired into, as exposing men to temptation was not the best mode of checking evil. There could be no doubt that the new beer-shops had led to intemperance—that intemperance led to poverty—and that poverty led to crime. He must say, that the noble Lord was entitled to the thanks of the country for the attention which he had bestowed on this important subject. He would not undertake to point out what the remedy was that they ought to apply, but still it was his opinion that, as evil existed, itshould be removed with as little loss of time as possible. He had no wish to do injustice to those who had invested their property in this trade, but he, at the same time, thought that any system which occasioned intemperance on the part of the labouring poor, ought to be put an end to at all risks. He was an advocate for free trade, but where the particular article produced demoralization, he fully concurred in the propriety of imposing restrictions. It was well known that many of the beer-shops were kept by disreputable persons—that they
no police could by possibility keep them in proper check. This was his opinion, and therefore he should support any proposition for inquiry, with a view of ascertaining the real facts, in order that they might see what course it was expedient to take.
Mr. Aglicmby was afraid that the country would think the feelings of that House was in favour of monopoly, and against the wishes of the public at large. He did not think, that they had any evidence before them which would justify a committee of inquiry; but still he was obliged to the noble Lord for moving for returns which under any view of the case would be valuable, inasmuch as they would show whether the evils complained of existed or not. In large towns, where there was a good police, throwing open the trade in beer was attended with no danger what ever, and he doubted whether any was to be apprehended in the remote or rural districts. He thought, that it was a great advantage to the poor to be able to obtain good and wholesome beer at a cheap rate, and therefore, although he agreed that some attention should be paid to the character of the parties keeping beer-shops, he hoped that Government would not deprive the poor of this advantage.
Mr. Parrott said, that so far from the magistrates of his part of the country finding fault with the New Beer Act, their opinion was, that it had been productive of very great benefit to the poor. For the magistrates of his part of the country he could say, that they had no wish to return back to the old licensing system, but, he was at the same time aware, that there were parties who were anxious to have the present law repealed. Instead of paying Ad. or 5d. a pot for beer, it was a great benefit to the labouring poor to be able to obtain it for l£d. or 2d., and, therefore, even if there were some disadvantages in the present system, the advantages greatly preponderated. The only effect which restrictions could have, would be to cause a considerable defalcation in the revenue, and reduce the price of barley; and his opinion was, that it was to the interest of the country at large that there should be a free trade in both cider and beer. While, however, he supported free trade, he was prepared to support any motion for a better system of police. Mr. Hindley was not favourable to the what it had done. So far as our Govern
were the resort of the ill-disposed, aud that^eer-shop system, because it t'
tation in the way of the young which led to demoralization. He thought, however, that the evils complained of might be remedied by an improved police. He was opposed to the old licensing system, and certainly had no wish to return to monopoly. He agreed, however, that the subject ought to be investigated by a Committee of that House. Returns ordered.
Portuguese Auxiliary Legion.] Viscount Sandon said, that the motion with which he meant to conclude was one to which he did not think, that the noble Lord (Palmerston) would object. It was for a copy of a letter, signed by Sir John Milley Doyle, and other officers of the auxiliary legion, complaining of the commission which had been appointed to investigate their claims. This body of men were induced to go out to Portugal, not with the direct encouragement of the Government, nor as in the case of Spain, by the repeal of an order in council; but it was notorious, that the expedition took place with the knowledge of the Government, and without any discountenance on their part. The service which they had rendered to the cause of Donna Maria was never disputed, the establishment of the present government of Portugal being mainly owing to their defence of Oporto, and their gallant exploits in other parts of Portugal. Their reward had been the greatest suffering and distress. For four years their claims had been kept in abeyance; commission after commission had been appointed, but with no satisfactory result to those ill-used persons. Even the present commission, which was of a more respectable character than those formerly appointed, must decide in a manner unfavourable to the claimants, if they wished their decision to be final; for, otherwise, the government of Portugal declared their intention of referring the question to another tribunal. The noble Lord concluded by moving for a copy of a letter to which he had adverted.
Viscount Palmerston was perfectly ready to state his concurrence in the opinion that this body of men had rendered very important service, and were entitled to the liberal consideration of the Portuguese government, because it was unquestionable that, if they had not defended Oporto, n all probability the result of the siege would have turned out differently from VOL. XLIV.
ment was concerned, though they took no part in encouraging these persons to go out, he was perfectly ready to admit, that their going out promoted objects which the Government approved of, and, so far from throwing any censure on their conduct, they had entitled themselves to the support and attention of Government. Their claims had been left standing for a considerable time; but, for the last two years, the government of Portugal had been in such a state of uncertainty and periodical change, that the irregularity in not disposing of these demands was not so wonderful as it might be considered if the circumstances were different. He could assure his noble Friend, that the British Government had not been indifferent to those claims, and that our Minister at Lisbon had, from time to time, been instructed to afford every assistance, and had frequently been in communication on their behalf with the Portuguese government. He believed he might say, that, without his (our Minister's) interference, the commission now in force would not have been established. The present commission was appointed in December last. The Portuguese who belonged to it were unobjectionable, and it also comprised General Stubbs, an officer whose high character was a guarantee that his influence would be used for the proper consideration of these claims. He could not say, that he had any recent accounts of their proceedings. At the same time he could undertake to say, that they had not made the progress in the investigation which the claimants had a right to expect; and he was aware that the question pending before it was, whether a certain contract, on the observance of which the claimants insisted, was binding or not. He could assure his noble Friend, that he should not fail to pursue the matter, and that whatever influence the Government possessed, should be put in force to bring about a just settlement of these claims, and as early a settlement as might be consistent with the circumstances of the Portuguese government. Motion agreed to.
Stipendiary Magistrates (ireLand).] Sir Robert Bateson did not wish, at so late an hour, to enter into a full discussion of this subject, but, in moving for the return of which he had F
given notice, he must say, that he thought there had been a strong disposition of late years, on the part of the Irish Government, to run down the unpaid magistrates of the country, and to establish stipendiary and paid magistrates in their place. Hitherto the magistrates had been selected from amongst the resident gentry, and he wished to know why those powers should now be taken out of their hands. He complained that, in many parts of the north of Ireland, stipendiary magistrates had been introduced where there was no occasion for them, and that, in several places, tumult and constant broils had been the consequence. The conduct of the Irish Government had, in this respect, been marked by great partiality, as was also the course they had adopted in putting down and oppressing the Protestants in that part of the kingdom to which he had before referred. Towards the Protestants and Orangemen of Ireland, the Government had acted in a most irritating and insulting manner; but he hoped, that those persons would soon show their enemies that they were not the lawless set they were described to be. He complained also of the partiality which had been shown in the last revision of the magistracy, and of the lord-lieutenants of counties not having been properly consulted. It was true, that they had been consulted, but it had been done so hastily as not to allow them time to give a proper opinion. Now the act, which was called the Lordlieutenants' Act, had been extended to Ireland by Earl Grey, for the express purpose of the lord-lieutenants being enabled to recommend to the Lord Chancellor, persons whom they considered fit to be appointed magistrates; but that act had, in many instances, been unattended to. He did not attribute this to the noble Marquess who was now at the head of the Irish Government, but he had thought that it had been occasioned by a power greater even than that of the Lord-lieutenant. That, however, had been denied, and he must, therefore, consider it to have been produced by the Jesuits, who were not only numerous in Ireland, but also in England. The hon. Member moved for a return of all the stipendiary magistrates in Ireland, specifying their names, salaries, and emoluments, the date of their appointment, their residence, and the districts under their charge, and for what counties they hold commissions of
Viscount Morpeth would not offer the slightest opposition to the motion of the hon. Member. There was nothing in the system of the Government of Ireland which required concealment, and he had, therefore, no objection to produce the accounts which had been moved for. He would just explain that, as to the revision of the magistrates having been made hastily, it had entirely arisen from the necessity of the commissions being issued by a certain day, and that with respect to consulting the Lord-lieutenant, he held, that the right of appointing persons to the magistracy rested exclusively with the Lord Chancellor. Motion agreed to.
ce. I o
Oude.] Mr. Winthrop Pracd,\n rising to make the motion of which he had given notice for papers respecting the Government of Oude, wished to ask the right hon. Baronet opposite two questions connected with it. It was, he believed, an acknowledged fact, that on the death of the late King of Oude, the British resident, at Lucknow, had interfered with an armed force to place the third son of the deceased King on the throne ; and that that interference had caused the loss of a thousand lives. The questions which he wished to put to the right hon. Baronet were, first, whether the steps which had been taken by the British resident at Lucknow, or by the East-India Company, with respect to the succession to the throne of Oude, had any connection with the payment of the debts due by the government of Oude to the Company ; and, secondly, whether the despatches which had been sent to Lord William Benlinck, authorising him to take possession of the territory of Oude, had any connection with the steps which had been taken with respect to the succession (o the throne of Oude? The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving for a number of papers connected with the succession of the government of Oude.
Sir John Hobhouse said, that he had no objection to give the best answers that he could, to both the hon. Gentleman's questions; and he hoped, that those answers would prove satisfactory. To the production of the papers, also, with some slight alterations, he had no objection; and when they were produced, the hon. Gentleman and the House would be as well able as he was, to form a competent opinion of the conduct, which had been pursued on the occasion, by the EastIndia Company and their agents. As far as he had hitherto been able to look at the returns, he had not the slightest doubt in his own mind, that the president at Lucknow, and the Governor-general had come to a correct conclusion on the question; and that the person who was now on the throne of Oude, was actually the legitimate successor to it. As to the bloodshed which had attended the transaction, it had been greatly exaggerated, the number of lives lost having been only 35 instead of a thousand. To the first question which had been put to him by the hon. Gentleman, his answer was ,that there had been no stipulation, and, as far as he knew, that there had been no intention in taking the steps relative to the succession, to make any arrangement with respect to the pecuniary claims of the Company to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded. To the hon Gentleman's other question his answer was, that in placing on the throne of Oude the individual who now sat there, there had been no stipulation, nor, as far as he knew, any intention to take that step for the sake of giving the East-India Company a greater right than they already possessed by treaty for the assumption of the territory of Oude. He would add, that so far was the course which had been pursued with respect to the succession, from adding to the chance (if it was a desirable object, which he did not believe it was) of enabling the Company to take possession of the territory of Oude—such was the character of the reigning Prince, that there was little probability, that he would afford us any pretext for assuming possession of the territory. Subject to some slight omissions and modifications, he had no objection to the hon. Gentleman's motions; and he could only say, that if, when the papers in question were laid on the table, they should appear to be incomplete, he would readily furnish any supplementary documents, that might be deemed necessary, being perfectly persuaded, that in the whole of the transaction in question, the East-India Company, both at home and abroad, had behaved with singular moderation, and had done nothing inconsistent with the high character which they had hitherto maintained. Returns ordered.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
Minutes.] Hill;. Read a second time: — Registration of
Parochial Assessments.] Mr. S. Lefcvre, in moving the second reading of the Parochial Assessment Bill, said that his object was to put an end to the contention which had of late arisen, in consequence of a mode of rating being adopted which was found to work most unsatisfactorily. The Parochial Assessment Act, which had been passed some time back, was framed with the view of introducing throughout all the parishes of England an uniform mode of rating, but a proviso was unfortunately introduced into that bill during its progress through the House of Lords, he believed at the suggestion of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the object of which was to secure to the clerical tithe-owner all the advantage which was taken from the land-owner by the decision in the case of the King v. Joddrell. By this decision it was determined that the farmers' profits ought to be included in the assessment. The House would recollect that, by the statutes of Elizabeth, all property was liable to be rated, and the rate was levied in proportion to the ability of the parish. It followed, of course, that all persoual property was subject to a rate, but gradually a great portion of personal property, such as that which arose from fees of professional men and the produce of labour, escaped being rated. In fact, wherever it was impossible to arrive at a fair valuation, the judges seemed to have sanctioned the principle, that property so circumstanced should not be rated at all. It was a hardship on the landed proprietor that his profits should be subject to be rated, but practically his legal liability cost him nothing, because the claim was never attempted to be enforced from the difficulty to which he had alluded; until the decision took place in the case of the King v. Joddrell. By several decisions as to the effect of the Parochial Assessments Act it was determined, that the property which was rateable was what the land would let for after deducting the poorrate and the other expenses necessary to render it productive. In the case of th King i>. Adams, which was which had since been
exactly upon the point in dispute, in that of the King v. Joddrell, it was declared that the occupier ought not to be rated as to the profits ; and though both cases were tried by the same judge, thejudgraent pro nounced in the latter case did not bear out that of the former. Unless the House in terfered, there would be appeals to the special Sessions from every parish in England, requiring that the law of rating profits should be speedily set aside. He was fully aware, that he had to encounter the opposition of the clerical tithe owners, 0 and he was quite ready to acknowledge that he had a powerful opponent to meet in a rev. gentleman who propounded his views on this subject not only in a pamphlet which was in the hands of almost all the hon. Members of that House, but also through the ordinary vehicles of public information, which came within every body's reach. The only thing of which ho (Mr. S. Lefevre) complained in that rev. gentleman's advocacy of his opinions was, that he accused him of want of faith in not adhering to the proviso introduced into the Parochial Assessment Acts. He was not himself consulted when that proviso was under consideration, but he had communicated with those who were, and they stated their distinct understanding to be, that the proviso was inserted without the smallest prejudice to the landowner, and that it was quite open to bring the subject before Parliament in the Session subsequent to that in which the bill passed. The argument for excluding the tithe-owner's chargo on the land from the operation of the decision in the case of the King v. Joddrell was this—that the duties annexed to this impost converted it into a species of salary, which, as personal property, ought to be exempt from rate. But was not a rent-charge for tithes one of the most available and secure properties in the kingdom? Was it not infinitely better paid than landed property, and ought it not to be subject to the same burdens? One of the principal objects of the Tithe Commutation Act—to do away with (he dissatisfaction which prevailed from the relative positions of the titheowner and the lauded proprietor—must be frustrated if the litheowner were now placed in a better position than the holder of land. If the Legislature did not interfere, the announcement that it would not, would be the signal for litigation in every parish in England. Even supposing, that the de
cision of the King v. Joddrell was confirmed, how was it proposed to deal with cases where the occupier derived no profits, from the fact of his possessing a bad farm, or from other circumstances of that nature? The effect of allowing the law to remain in its present state would be to unsettle all fixed engagements connected with land, and he trusted, therefore, that the House would consent to read this bill a second time.
Mr. Goulburn said, that the hon. Gentleman in this bill very ingeniously concealed the object which he professed to have in view. He had no wish on the part of the clergy to avoid any burden that could be justly cast upon them by law. There was no desire on their part that they should not pay their full share of the burdens which Parliament imposed, whether for the general welfare of the country or for the maintenance of the poor within their parishes. All he claimed on their behalf was, that when they called upon all classes to contribute their proportion, the clergy should not be called upon to contribute more than fairly fell upon them. All he wished was, that the assessment should fall equally upon all classes. But how stood the present question? Two years since they had passed an act for the commutation of tithes in England and Wales, an act by which the clergy were called upon to forego any increase of property which should arise from an improvement of the agriculture of the country; and the clergy accepted in lieu of this an annual sum, founded upon the basis of what they had received during a certain antecedent period. This was in the nature of a bargain; for they called upon all parties to enter into a voluntary arrangement upon the principles laid down in the act? The 69th clause of that act enacted, that every rent-charge payable instead of tithe should be subject to all Parliamentary, parochial and other assessments, in like manner as the tithes were heretofore subject. He said, therefore, that if they now proposed to introduce a law which should make a difference with respect to the mode in which the rent-charges of the clergy should be rated to the poor-rates, leaving the charges themselves on the same footing they would most materially alter the conditions which they originally held out as an inducement to the clergy to agree to a enernl commutation. He thought upon