Page images
PDF
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The Lord Chancellor observed, that if that was the case, he was sorry to find that there were two cases of barrators. He could not help regarding this as an unfortunate occurrence, for in- all his communications with the noble Duke, he had been treated by the noble Duke with the utmost possible courtesy, and he regretted that this occasion had arisen. He certainly thought, that he had got the right man, but it appeared, that the case that he had found was another case of a barrator, he could, therefore, only declare, that he was quite ignorant who the individual was, that had been referred to by the noble Duke. There were two other cases referred to by the noble Duke; the first was described as follows :—" A gentleman goes and stands a contest at a general election; after having stood this contest he is appointed a captain of one of her Majesty's ships; he goes to sea, and then the Lord Chancellor writes, that it is necessary, that this gentleman should be put in the commission of the peace. But the Act of Parliament required, that the magistrate should be resident." Now, the facts of this case, when mentioned, would he was sure, take the sting out of the observations. It was true, that he had been applied to by the father of the gentleman in question to place his son's name on the commission of the peace. This was in the summer of last year, but as he knew, that a new commission would be required, he did not take immediate steps in the matter. In the autumn he had recommended the name of this gentleman to the notice of the noble Duke. This was in the month of October; and it appeared that the gallant officer had been appointed to a ship, since the application of his father. He did not think, that he was liable to any very heavy censure for the part that he had taken in this matter, as lie believed, that all parties would admit the gentleman to be unexceptionable in point of station and character. But, after all, this case showed the propriety of communication taking place on this subject, between the Lord Chancellor and the lord-lieutenant of a county. There was another case which the noble Duke had alluded to, that of a gentleman who had been an attorney, and who, having for several years carried on the business with a firm, at length became a sleeping partner in the business, and was then subsequently appointed to the office

of a magistrate. Hearing this declaration, he was desirous to know if he had committed the offence which was alleged, and he applied to the partners of the house, which was a most respectable firm in the city, and he learned, that the gentleman referred to, had been a partner in the house, but for twenty years he had had no connection with it. As this information had been derived from a quarter which could not be doubted, he must presume, that the noble Duke had been misinformed as to the communication which he had made to the House. He had had no object in making this statement but that of relieving himself from the pressure of what had fallen from the noble Duke, and which always carried great weight with it. He must feel in the same manner and in the same degree as to all the counties, and if he was satisfied of the course of duty which he ought to perform, he must and would perform it in the way which it suggested itself to him was the right one. He was glad always to avail himself of the advice and assistance of lords-lieutenant in such cases, but if he found, that they would not assist him, he must obtain the best intelligence he could upon the subjects into which it became necessary for him to inquire, and must act accordingly. This bad been the course which he had adopted hitherto, and which he should continue to adopt, until he was satisfied, that he was in error. When he was so satisfied, he should be content and ready to alter the plan he had pursued, but at present, he conceived, that that plan was the best calculated to secure the interests of the country.

The Duke of Wellington wished to remind their Lordships of what had passed ou this subject a few days ago, when the noble and learned Lord stated, in answer to his noble Friend, that he considered it to be his duty to canvass by way of inquiry, with respect to proper persons to be appointed to the magistracy of the county of York. On that he differing from the noble and learned Lord, said, that such a proceeding was not quite fair towards the lord-lieutenant. To canvass first, and then to go to the lord-lieutenant and ask him if certain persons already recommended were fit and proper persons to be put in the commission of the peace, was not fair towards the lord-lieutenant, because he was placed iu a situation to reply whether the person proposed was proper

Lordships which was very plain and very short, and showed distinctly who the persons were who ought to be appointed to the magistracy. The law said that:—

"The justices of the peace must be good and loyal men, no maintainers of evil, and of good character in the county. They must be selected from men of the best reputation in each county, and some should be learned in the laws. They must be knights, esquires, and gentlemen of the land, resident in the county and the qualification for the office was to be an income of 100/. annually, clear of all deductions. No practising attorney or solicitor to be capable of being appointed."

That was the law, and even though he might hare been mistaken as to the strict applicability of the law to the case of the gentleman who had been alluded to as a sleeping partner in a house of business, yet he contended, that the presumption was, that such a peison was not qualified, as the law stood, to be appointed. What he conteuikd wa% that the magistrates should be selected, and that individuals recommended by all sorts of persons, oujht not to be appointed. Such was the obvious meaning of the law, which clearly showed, that the most respectable and most influential men in the county were the persons to be selected as magistrates.

or not, and to Ray he was not proper for this reason, or for that, while he would be liable to nil the consequences of giving thut private and confidential information. He confessed, that he, for one, could have no confidence in such a description of inquiry, lie could not write in confidence to a person, knowing, that he might hereafter be called on to state the reasons for the opinion he gave. He thought, the persons canvassed and consulted in the way alluded to must be people of n low description—not the gentlemen of the county—not men of property and influence, but persons of the lowest description. Me had stated, that must be the case; he had noticed three cases which had occurred to himself, in every one of which he was positive in asserting, that the noble and learned Lord could not have received the recommendations from persons of character and consideration in the county. With regard to the first case alluded to by the noble and learned Lord, he had pointed to a gentleman against whom he had nothing to say; he was a brave officer, and had served with him, and had done himself honour. But when a person had been bound over to keep the peace, he certainly did feel,

that he could not recommend him to be ! With respect to the principle which the

placed in the commission of the peace. With respect to the other case to which the noble and learned Lord had alluded, he had stated to the noble and tearued Lord the objections which he entertained to the appointment of that iudividual— namely, hts beiug- a partner in a house of business in the city. He had stated those objections twice to the noble and learned Lord, and he wished distinctly to observe, that he had objected to those gentlemen on no party or political grounds. When he was called upon to recommend a list of Magistrates, he bad ever recommended all who were recommended to him, and in fr'ebruarv he had acted on that principle* and had excluded no one except the gentleman who had been staled to be guilty of bat ratrv and the gentleman who was a sleeping partner in a house of business. Ther« was, therefore, no exclusion at me; hot I -i . i he had seut up to toe noble and IfiU'ied I '>id, except m me two C Im» to wbtoi he had illudeu: auti lot the ;aouatoit Oi these two person* no iau stuuu .us reasons to tne noble and it .iiieu i., <c\i. V •. »h<u wu» tLo U* uu ....» »uujcu: U« would e.id a shot i oxliaci to ihvit'

noble and learned Lord had laid down in
regard to appiving to the lords-lieutenant
for in'crmation in reference to persons
recommended to htm, be mast say, that
if those persons were rejected, the odium
of that rejection rested with the lords-lien-
tetiant. and be thought it was too hard,
that the lords-lieutenant should be called
ir on to state whv thev considered certain
persons timpi.i'thed tor the office of the
majistracv. The power of rj
learned Lmd to appoint the an
not questioned, but the noble and
Lord thought proper to go anions
whom he conceived to be improper i
to obtain Mi formation, and then applied to
the iord-.ieiiteuanc to know why certain
persons had not been recommended. That
.vas a course which he considered highly
ooiectionabie: and nothing, in his optnwn,
couid be more calculated to injure the
-haracier of the mae^stracv than such a
iiocet unii;. The noble and leorned Lord
>au said, 'hat there had been no objection
to anv Ji 'he names :»lace»l upon the bo-
•ouijii »st which had oe«u alluifed to: but
siue« me uretHXtt nucnis deoaie ou this
o^io.ect, .h; lire Units af Weilimjtoo)

had received some information in regard to that list, which he would put into the hand of the noble and learned Lord; and he begged the noble and learned Lord to look into that communication, and then judge whether he was not likely to have been deceived by the mode which he had adopted to obtain his information. He would place that communication in the hands of the noble and learned Lord, with the hope that it would open his eyes to the bad effects likely to arise from seeking to obtain information from the description of persons to whom he had alluded, and who, he contended, were unqualified to give a sound and impartial opinion on the subject. He would insist that the law intended, and Parliament had expressed its decided opinion on the subject, that those officers ought not to be political, and that the magistrates ought not to be selected from party or political motives. Parliament had clearly declared its opinion on this point by a clause in the English Corporation Bill. An attempt was made to give, by that bill, a power to the corporations to recommend the magistrates to be appointed for those corporations; but, by a clause which was moved in that House, and agreed to in the other House of Parliament, it was decided that the corporations should have no such power. He was aware, that a noble Lord in the other House had contended for extending such a power to the corporations; but Parliament decided otherwise, and held, that the magistrates should not be selected from political motives, and that they ought to be kept, as far as possible, clear from party. Such was the law, and such was the declaration of Parliament; and he contended, that the principle upon which Parliament had acted, was the only principle by which they could secure the pure administration of justice. He was always unwilling to enter upon such discussions as the present, as he was aware, that they were generally painful, while they led to no results. The noble and learned Lord had said, that he would persevere in the same course which he had hitherto pursued. Be it so; and all that he would say was, that as custos rottdorum, he could not prevent himself from feeling a strong want of confidence in such a mode of performing the duties of the noble Lord's high office, as the noble and learned Lord had described. His object was, to have men of respectability appointed to

the magistracy, and their Lordships might assure themselves, that the public would ultimately feel, that those who wished to keep the magistrates clear of party and uninfluenced by political motives, and to select the justices of the peace from the persons of the greatest influence in the country, were the best friends of their country.

Lord Brougham wished to say a few words in reference to the gentleman who had been charged with barratry. That gentleman had done nothing to subject him to such a charge. He had been guilty of some violence, because he had felt his honour to have been touched; and the noble Duke had admitted, that that violence was the only thing which prevented him from recommending him to be appointed to the magistracy. The noble Duke had stated, that he had no other objection to the gentleman alluded to, and had admitted, that in every other respect his character was irreproachable. He wished that that statement should be made known distinctly, as the gentleman alluded to was a most estimable and highly respectable individual. There was no barratry, for barratry meant a stirring up of suits; and he did not know how such a term could be applied to the conduct of the gentleman who had been alluded to. With respect to what the noble Duke had said in the conclusion of his speech, he (Lord Brougham) was sure that the people did feel the necessity of keeping the administration of justice pure, and those who exerted themselves to keep the magistrates clear from party and political feelings, were entitled to the thanks of the country. He by no means thought, however, that the best mode to effect that desirable object, was by adopting a system of exclusion. If, on the other hand, they proceeded upon the principle of creating six Whig justices, because six Tory justices already existed, or six Tory justices because six Whigs had been previously created magistrates, then they would have the bench divided, not on the merits of any case which might come before them, but on political grounds; and such a course, therefore, was extremely liable to objection. He was quite sure, that the best results would flow from the Lord Chancellor keeping his ears open, if he did not place himself in improper hands; and to whom, he would ask, could the Lord Chancellor apply with more con* iiitaifi far u: farmmic* tbaa to iae t;rdslueiuus.i**' Be agreed with those who Skii. uot ti* krii-Ueateaant would be fiuoei .lit Street poutuoa, if tbe Lord Ciu-uocLw if.-fiurtf to litem for icforaiation ia respect tc i&-i.Tid«als recommended for i^fc<iLiaii&i:i -z. use cn^i Piracy, provided .bos* p»B»t weoe rejected, and the gTMuKS* cf tiat ttejtctico stated. He wcm'.-ci neziiMa th< OMtse which, in such esse*, ht >.43isf.:' kid invariably fallowed. He had rwx-.vod, whi.e he 6lled the office of LordO»anc*iior, recommendations from cociitv ted botccgh Members, and from other persons; and he had made it a rule to apply for information to the lords-lieutenant in regard to all I host recommendations, and if the lorda-lteuteoant satisfied him that the persons who had been so recommended ought not to be appointed, he bad fell that it was his bounden duty to take the responsibility of the rejection on himself. He held, that he should have been guilty of a very great breach of confidence, had he stated, that the rejection was the consequence of the representations of the lords-lieutenant. The appointments were not in the hands of the lords-lieutenant, but in the hands of the Chancellor, and how the lords-lieutenant came to exercise such a power as they did at present, was difficult to say. He did not see how the system could be much mended, unless a greater number of stipendiary magistrate* was appointed; and in all cases he thought that the chairman ought to be a paid officer. That, however, was a subject foreign to the present debate, and on which he should not, therefore, enter at that time.

The Earl of nT<irn>ic£ complained of the applications which had been made to the Lord Chancellor for the appointment of magistrates in the county of which he was lord-liculenant; and with respect to the municipal boroughs, the general opinion in the county was, that the appointment of magistrates in those places were controlled by the influence of n gentleman who was well acquainted with Warwickshire—he meant Mr. Joseph Parkes. All that had been said regarding the magistrates might with equal propriety be applied to the appointment of sheriffs; and the whole patronage in the county seemed to be d»poi\scil, with an entire regard to party

iWlilUJ.

Lord Wharnclifie said, he understood that the Lord Chauccllor objected to give

I an answer to the question he put respecting the memorial of which he desired a copy.

The Lord Chancellor was not aware of the existence of any memorial of the kind.

Lord Wharncliffe said, that under these circumstances he must, of course, withdraw his motion. He would, however, fairly stale his opinion, that he believed the proceeding to which he had called their Lordships' attention, to be a political move. The Lord Chancellor had received private applications from persons who, he believed, bad made those applications from political motives; and all that had fallen from the noble and learned Lord, had only served to confirm his opinion on this point. The noble and learned Lord had said, that he (Lord Wharncliffe) had interest in the county, and of course liked the old bench better than the new; and it was to be presumed, he supposed, that his preference for the old bench was founded on party feeliDgs. Was it, then, intended by new appointments to destroy his political interest? He repeated, that the noble and learned Lord, by attending to private applications with regard to the appointment of magistrates, had been made the instrument of a political party.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Municipal Corporations (ireLand.)] Viscount Melbourne, in moving that the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill be received, said, that their Lordships had, in the Committee, introduced into the bill numerous and complicated amendments, some of which were of a very technical nature, and could only be judged of with reference to the local circumstances of that part of the kingdom to which they were to be applied. As these amendments were only proposed last Thursday, it was impossible for him, or for his noble and learned Friend on the woolsack, to give any decided opinion with respect to them on the present occasion. At the same time he begged leave to say, that though he was very far from concurring in the propriety of some of them, yet if they were adopted and persevered in by their Lordships, he should not regard them as forming a reason why he should not proceed with the bill; and he would not, therefore, abandon the measure on account of their adoption. He, however, repeated what he had said on a former occasion, that the

« PreviousContinue »