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prisoners requiring religious aid at the time, but upon the fact that in the three preceding years there was an average of fifty. If the principle were good, some temporary provision should certainly be made, and that the hon. Gentleman's clause would not do. He felt strongly thai he was now called upon to decide a great question, while he likewise felt that the clause of the hon. Gentleman would do nothing, except as far as principle was concerned, and under the pretence of doing an act of humanity they would be doing nothing but deciding on the principle. He was convinced there were not ten prisons in England to which the principle of the average of three years preceding would apply. By adopting, therefore, the hon. Gentleman's proposition they would be doing no practical good. He certainly thought it would be a violation of the principle of toleration to compel any portion of the prisoners in the gaol to attend any religious ministrations in which they did not believe. He thought, further, that they were bound to afford a perfectly free and unrestrained access, subject to the discipline of the gaol, to the minister belonging to the persuasion of each prisoner. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hawes) said, that that was done in some cases, and not in others. He (Sir R. Peel) would read a clause from the law introduced by himself:—" And be it further enacted, that if any prisoner shall be of a religious persuasion different from the established church, the minister of such persuasion, at the special request of such prisoner, shall be allowed to visit him, at proper and reasonable times, and upon such restrictions prescribed by the visiting justices, as shall guard against the introduction of improper persons." He begged to call the attention of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin, however, to the fact, that under that act there had been great collision between the spiritual authorities in Ireland and grand juries. The hon. and learned Gentleman said there should be a Roman Catholic clergyman appointed. Who was to have that appointment ? Was it the magistrates who were to have it, or was there to be any veto on the subject? If they did not make regulations on that subject, they would have the interference of the bishops. A magistrate might appoint a chaplain, and the Roman catholic bishop might interdict the appointment by
saying, " He is not the chaplain I wish for, and I cannot sanction his appointment." If they did not combine with the principle very strict regulations, there would be no end to religious differences. He did not wish to pronounce any decided opinion against the proposition: he merely wished, that it should be postponed, he did not think they were undermining the principles of the establishment if, in the case of gaols, they made pro isions which they could not, in other cases, consent to ; but he felt strongly, that in introducing this principle for the first time iu England, it was absolutely necessary to give the fullest and most mature consideration to the circumstances under which it was to be introduced, and to combine with it such checks as would undoubtedly prevent abuse, and remove all possibility of religious discord arising in the gaols. Under these circumstances, if the hon. Gentleman asked him for his assent to the proposition, he could not give it; if, on the other hand, the hon. Gentleman consented to withdraw it for the present—a proposal which he did not make for the purpose of delay, or from any insuperable objections to the principle—he was ready to give his consent to a proposition involving the principle advocated by the hon. Gentleman, combined with such regulations as should make it perfectly safe.
Mr. Thomely read an extract from a report which he said he had received from one of the inspectors of prisons, to the following effect:—of the religious professions of 419 persons confined in the borough gaol of Liverpool in August, 1837, there were 216 Protestants, 174 Roman Catholics, 17 Presbyterians, and the rest of other persuasions. He understood, that in Manchester the Roman Catholics bore at least as great a proportion to the whole population as iu Liverpool. He could not, therefore, for a moment hesitate to say, that whenever the hon. Member for Knaresborough brought forward, in any shape, a proposition for giving to those 174 Roman Catholics in the gaol of Liverpool, and to the Catholics similarly placed throughout the country, the advantage of religious consolation from their own ministers, he should have great pleasure in voting with him.
Lord J. Russell agreed with the right hon. Baronet, that they should not agree to a clause of that nature without its having been brought in a distinct shape
the other House, which had passed, and the Government, which had sanctioned it. He was only induced to consent to the passing of the bill from the conviction that an efficient change would be brought about sooner if this measure were adopted, than if the law were allowed to remain in its present state.
The Attorney-general resisted the amendment, as making a very important alteration in the system that now prevailed. That part of the system to which it related, if altered at all, ought to be wholly re-modelled.
Mr. Harvey said, it almost seemed from the tone taken by the Attorney-general as if that House had little to do with the bill in the way of deliberation, and must be content to take it as it stood, or not at all. For his part, he confessed, he was not so unfavourable to the bill as the hon. Member for Bridport. It was obviously not a perfect measure; but it made several most important improvements on the present law. If the bill should pass, the fraudulent debtor would no longer have it in his power to set his creditors at defiance, and live in a state of criminal affluence within the walls of a prison, but would be brought before a competent court, and compelled to surrender whatever property he possessed. On the other hand, the creditor would not be allowed, as at present, to keep the debtor in prison for an interminable period, in the indulgence of a spirit of censurable vindictiveness. They were not now, in his opinion, in a condition to discuss the whole law of debtor and creditor, and therefore, although he thought that many useful improvements might be made in it, he was disposed to acquiesce in this bill.
The Attorney-general was only anxious not to hazard, by too many amendments, at this late period of the Session, the passing of a measure which all must look upon as extremely beneficial.
Mr. Hume wished, that insolvents should be put on the same footing as bankrupts. It was very hard to allow a judgment to hang over an insolvent which would prevent him from ever re-establishing himself in business.
Mr. Freshfield objected to the amendment, as causing an inconvenient alteration in the existing law. Ia the Insolvent Debtors' Court, there were at the present moment between 100,000 and
200,000 judgments, which were liable to be enforced at any time.
The amendment withdrawn, and clause agreed to.
The House resumed, the report to be brought up.
HOUSE OF LORDS,
MiffuTES.] Bills. Read a second time:—Church Discipline; Qualification of Electors; Sheriflfc Courts.—Read a first time :—Royal Exchange; Prisons (Scotland).
Petitions presented. By the Duke of Richmond, from Legal Practitioners in the county of Elgin, in favour of the Sheriffs Courts (Scotland) Bill.—By Lord Sondes, from the Operative Conservative Association of Warrington, for the expulsion of Roman Catholics from Parliament.—By the Earl of Carlisle, from the Church Missionary Society of Carlisle, against Idolatry in India; and from the town of Carlisle, in favour of the Irish Municipal Corporations Bill.—Byrthe Duke of Wellington, from Individuals connected with the Corporation of Cork, not to pass the Irish Municipal Corporations Bill without compensating those afTected by it—By the Earl of WinChilsea, from the neighbourhood of Liverpool, and from Alvcrstoke, against any further Grant of Money to the College of MaynooUi.
Appointment Of Mr.Turton.] The Earl of Winchilsea was sorry, that he was not present the other evening, when a noble Friend of his (Lord Wharnclifle) asked a question of the noble Viscount, which appeared to him to be of great importance. So far as it went, the answer given to that question, which related to a recent appointment in Canada, was satisfactory. But, had he been in his place when the noble Viscount expressed his regret at the appointment, he should not have been entirely satisfied, without inquiring what course the Government meant to adopt on the subject. When he had formerly sought information as to this appointment, he entertained no doubt that the individual alluded to had gone out with a view to his becoming a member of one of the highest and most important missions that had ever been sent from this country; and he objected to any such appointment, because he viewed it as being closely connected with the character of the Sovereign. In his opinion, no one should have been employed on such a mission, except his character was free from taint or blemish. He now begged leave to ask the noble Viscount a question, namely, whether the individual to whom he alluded had been recalled? That was the only question that he meant to ask. He had heard it reported, but he trusted the rumour was without foundation, that the appointment had not
however, took the lead. Antigua, two years before any other, adopted a similar course, came forward and dared to be wise, dared to be prudent. She knew and felt, that the most prudent and the safest policy was also the most virtuous, the most just, and therefore the most prompt and the most bold. Her example was followed by Montserrat, and by the smaller isles, and then by the greater colony, which arrogated to itself the title of " Little England "—he meant the great colony of Barbadoes. There remained Jamaica, and he was informed this day, as if by the special interposition of Providence — having postponed his motion from time to time owing to one accident and another— having put it off'on the last occasion in consequence of the illness of a noble Lord— having thus waited till this day to bring forward this motion, whereof he had given notice, on this very morning there had arrived, to greet him on the dawn of the day that should witness the last discussion in Parliament, as he fervently hoped, of this great question, the glorious intelligence that, at length, Jamaica too had given way, and that, in Jamaica, with unexampled dispatch, in the space of three or four days, the measure had been carried through the assembly, and the negroes of Jamaica were free on the 1st of August. These were the slave colonies which followed the example of Antigua. The numbers emancipated were, in Jamaica 235,000, in Barbadoes 54,000, and in all, including Antigua, there were not less than 255,000, besides those whom the measure of 1833, as non-predials and young children, emancipated. But in the unchartered colonies, as they were called, which had not the option, even if they pleased it, of emancipating their slaves, the whole amount of slaves whose fate hung upon the decision of their Lordships was no less than 130,000 souls. With regard to those colonies which had legislatures of their own, their Lordships might with a show of justice have pleaded their reluctance to interfere with those legislatures, but could this be urged with regard to the unchartered colonies, which had no legislatures at all? The Crown was to them what live Hoose of Assembly and the Legislative Council were to Jamaica and Barbadoes. Having no legislature, ihey could not, even if they would, follow the example which had been set them by some of the other colonies. I ft their
Lordships only look to the state of Guiana, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Mauritius. He said nothing of the Cape of Good Hope, where since the 1st of September the slaves had been emancipated by law. Were the slaves of Guiana and the other colonies which he had named less fitted for the reception of freedom than those of Jamaica, Barbadoes, and Antigua? Was the lot of the slave under the tropical sun of the Mauritius, or in those other islands which were not blessed with the healthiest climates, one whit lighter than in Jamaica, or in Antigua, where they enjoyed all manner of comforts? Quite the reverse. It was in the savannahs of Trinidad, and upon the alluvial soil of Guiana, that human life was most prodigally wasted, in ministering to European avarice, and it was there that it behoved the mother country to interpose to put a stop to the inhuman deaths, to the diseases which were felt to be more cruel than death, to the fatal contamination which the necessity of labouring on those fatally unwholesome plains inflicted on those wretched victims of avarice. But the voice from Mauritius, which pierced their ear, and rended the silence of that eastern sea, was aggravated in its tones of pity, and fell still harsher upon their ears, from this hard addition to the lot of the slave, that three out of four of those who cultivated the plains of Mauritius, all suffering worse torments than even those which were inflicted upon the negroes of Guiana and of Trinidad, had never in their lives been legally slaves at all. They had been transported thither, not only against the law of nature, but after the law of this land had made transportation of the slave a capital crime; and 30,000 capital felonies had been committed in conveying over 30,000 of these victims of their weakness, and planting ihem under the unwholesome climate and upon the unwholesome soil of that Mauritius. If ever there had been a single neglect of duty upon the part of a Legislature, it was theirs, in not having at once broken through the fetters of a mere legal informality, and passed a new law to prevent the recurrence of these monstrous outrages; but in paying, on the contrary, the frightful sum of 2,000,000/. sterling as compensation to those capital felons, instead of giving them their deserts upon the gallows. The House was perhaps not aware that there was not more than 7,000 out of the 38,000 negro slaves in Mauri