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evidence on oath. Sooner, however, than that the bill should not pass, he would consent to take it with the restriction pointed out by the noble Earl opposite.
Lord Holland said, he felt bound to remark, that Mr. Foster, whose recommendation had been alluded to by his noble and learned Friend was one of the most useful magistrates in Manchester, and that on the authority of that gentleman he could state, that the feeling in favour of this measure was not confined to those who sought the exemption for themselves. The matter was of general public importance, for the hardship of the present law was not so much on those who refused now to take oaths, as upon the persons who were thus deprived of the benefit of their evidence. Under this feeling there was in Alanchester a very general desire for this bill.
The Earl of Wicklow said, he found that his amendment could not in form be proposed until the bill had been read a third time. Now, he must object to the third reading, unless he had an assurance from the noble and learned Lord, that he would afterwards agree to his (the Earl of Wicklow's) amendment, to confine the bill to those persons who had been Quakers.
Lord Ashburton, was understood to say, that if relief should be given at all, this bill was wholly insufficient. He, however, objected entirely to the measure. He had also received communications on this subject, and he was still of opinion that the general evidence in English Courts of Justice, would be greatly impaired when the great mass of the community found, that evidence was not given under the solemn sanction of an oath. If, however, anything was- to be done by legislation on this matter, he should be inclined to confine it, as suggested by the noble Earl behind him (the Earl of Wicklow) to persons who had belonged to the society of Quakers; at the same time, he could not help thinking, that by this plan the lives and properties of the people would be less carefully guarded under so loose a mode of admitting evidence, than they were at present. If the House went to a division, he should vote against the third reading oft he bill.
r The Marquess of Bute looked upon this bill as being a judicial and not a political measure—a measure which, as he
understood, was considered necessary by the noble and learned Lord, and his learned brethren, the judges, who from their experience found, that considerable interruption occurred to the ends of justice from the impossibility of obtaining the evidence of many worthy and excellent men who had conscientious objections to take an oath. It must be irksome and abhorrent to the learned judges to be compelled to punish individuals so circumstanced, and feeling, that this was a judicial measure important to the ends of justice, he felt it his duty to vote in favour of the bill of the noble and learned Lord.
Lord Ellenborough observed, that he had altered the bill to the form in which it would stand if the amendment of his noble Friend (the Earl of Wicklow) was agreed to, and he found, that in that case it would be necessary to strike out one half of the preamble and the same quantity of the enactments, which was scarcely a fit way to deal with a bill on its third reading. The better course would be, to throw out this bill, and then the noble and learned Lord might bring in a fresh bill embodying the principle contended for by his noble Friend.
Lord Denman said, it was true, that the bill was a judicial measure, for the purpose of effecting the admission of the truth in courts of justice, but the noble Marquess had misunderstood him (Lord Denman) in supposing, that he had the authority of the judges to state, that it was generally their opinion that the bill should pass into a law. The bill, however, did rest upon some authority, for one of his most respected brethren, Mr. Baron Alderson, had, at an early period of this Session, drawn up a bill on this subject, which fell through because it had been thought more convenient to annex its provisions to another measure, which had been rendered necessary by a decision of the Irish judges with respect to the admission as witnesses of Presbyterians without an oath. By the existing law evidence was excluded upon which life and limb, and property to a vast extent, might depend. As long as these persons were Quakers they had the protection of the law, but they were deprived of that on becoming members of the Church of England. Should that, injustice, be so? The only objection to the bill was that mentioned by the noble Baron opposite (Lord Ashburton), vizv that the genweal *4F««t of svidenc* ineww of justice wnnld be diminished, began** under the bill certain individual* would he permitted •a «»7, •* I do not think it lawful to (alee a* oath, and I request to he permitted to make an arnrmation." The observation would be qnite as good with reference to Quaker** whrt went examined every day withont an oath. Did a Quaker have less respect for the troth because he gave evidence on affirmation? or would a. man who made an oath think he wan less bound to speak the truth because a Quaker was not *worn? The evil winch be had brought nnder the notice of their Lordship* was one of great magnitude; he had sugSfestnd a remedy, and had persevered to the last in attempting to get tliat remedy applied; and though the result might be nnravonrable, he felt it his dnty to take their Lordship* opinion npon the qttestinn. If defeated now, he should certainly bring forward the subject again, at an early period of the ensuing session.
Their Lordships divided. Content lfi; Nat~content 32: Majority 16.
Patson* tx The West In Diss.] Lord Glunelg moved the second reading of the West Indies Prisons Bill.
Lord FJlenbomvck had looked over the bill, and thought it was a very proper one. He would take that opportunity of asking the noble Baron, whether be bad received answer* to the sixteen questions, which, on the 17th of November last, he pot in a circular letter to the governors of the several colonies on important matters' He tbought it was highly necessary to make provisions with a view to the coining period of the universal emancipation of the slaves. This bill related only to one point; and be wished to ask the noble Barou what measure he intended with respect to maintaining, or increasing, or diuiuishing, the present number of special luagisliutvi. Ho was of upimou llinl it Would Hl'l '«.' lOliaiatt lit With lilt-- M ll
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importance; what reform* oral (ration of jurists, white grarut crates, and white ji connected with the mors or less preiottiai planter*. He betiprea. riiat there was bat one prejudiced. There nnat be are?, mica between white and ruacx, inr. m tinman the distinction between matUT ana aire might be destroyed, the attter disanctauii could not be destroyed, it was .nherent a die nature of things; and ne feared that jreal evil* might arise from .t There was another with this subject, and it greatest importance. What warn tn he the condition of die hereafter? A short penad emancipated negroes alectoi mately, unless an alteration the law, they would preponUe become also the majority at" petty jurors. He did not say, that by legtaiarion thi3 ought to be prevented, but it was x state of things that ought to be Looked tbrward to as one that would require legislation. He was far from thinking; that the didictillies of the noble Baron were at an end; he thought they were only commencing. He could not but express his surprise that it was not until the 17th. of November last year the noble Baron asked for information on paints which were of the
Lord Gleneiij said, that answers to the questions put iu the circular letter alluded to by the noble Baron had been received from several of the colonies. The special magist rates, would, of course, cease to be so an the expiration of the act under which they were appointed, but it was intended to continue tnem under another name, and wine other system which would enable ilicin with the same watchfulness to supermti'ttd the state of things. He was not quite clear that the same number of ui.'MiHrates would be required, but be luuld give oo positive opinion on that I'oiiit ui present. He quite agreed with iliy uublo Baron that the persons, whose , ,.111.111 in society would be changed1, •'.Id ikt|uiit> veiy vigilant watchfulness, il. I».i iv il«o tliv»t pityudices arising fm01 K.uit,u«, ..( colour would exist, and > '.i.u it vtniuld be some tin" 'i ...-u,u bv tuaUicated; but he
did not think it would be quite fair to conclude that they would be carried to the extremity that the noble Lord suspected they would, or that better principles and feelings would not operate in the new state of society. With respect to the future administration of justice, he acknowledged that it was a very important subject; but it would become a very difficult one, if they laid it down as a problem that there would be no persons in the colonies on whom they could rely for assistance in properly carrying it into effect. He did not deny that the difficulties of the Government might not be decreased by the change in the slate of society in the West Indies, but he was of opinion that there were elements of advantage in that change which would counterbalance any new difficulties that mijrht arise.
Lord Ellenborough said, the noble Baron looked to apprenticeship terminating in 1840; but the time had come earlier, and from all the accounts which had been rece ved, the negroes would within a fortnight be free. There, therefore, could not safely be any delay in taking the necessary legislative steps.
Lord Holland said, this subject was one of great delicacy and of much difficulty, and it was impossible that they could discuss the measures which might be proposed till some communication was made to the House by the Government. It would be time enough to discuss the policy of those measures when they were regularly before the House.
Bill read a second time.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
Minutkso Bills. Read a first time:—General Turnpike
Petitions presented. By Mr. G. Lanoton, from Bath, in favour of the Grant to Maynooth.—By Mr. Wallack, from the Glasgow, Greenock, and Paisley Railway Company, against the Mails on Railroads Bill, and from the Glasgow and Greenock Institution, against the encouragement of Idolatrous Worship in India, and by Mr. Shkppard, from Poole, to the same effect.—By Viscount Sandon, from Liverpool, against the Grant to Maynooth. —By Mr. A. Chapman, from Whitby, against Idolatrous Worship in India.—By Lord Worslky, from Lincoln, in favour of a cheap rate of Postage.—By Mr. H. GRattan, from Spirit Dealers of Arklow and Rathdrum, praying for lite same advantages as their fellow Tradesmen.
Church Vestries.] Dr. Nicholl moved that the House resolve itself into a Committee on the Church Vestries Bill.
Mr. Hume moved, that the House would resolve itself itself into a Committee that day three months.
Mr. Hodges seconded the amendment. In many parishes the Bill would cause great expense, and the whole measure was as objectionable as unnecessary.
Mr. Warburton said, notice should have been given of a bill, the effect of which would be in so many cases to saddle the country with great additional expense. , If the bill were made permissive, it might have a beneficial effect.
Mr. O'Connell objected to the Roman Catholics being called upon to pay new taxes. He hoped, therefore, the hon. and learned Member would exempt Ireland from the operation of the bill, as he had already done Scotland. It would introduce a new church rate into that country.
Mr. J. Grattan also hoped the hon. Member would exclude Ireland.
Colonel Perceval hoped the hon. and learned Member would include Ireland, as he was convinced that such a bill was much more necessary for that country than England.
Lord Worsley would not oppose going into Committee; but it was his intention to persuade the House, if he could, to adopt certain clauses, which it was his intention to propose.
Dr. Nicholl said, the hon. and learned Gentleman asked him to except Ireland from this bill, saying it would introduce a new Church-rate for Ireland. He denied this. If there were any part of the empire which ought to be submitted to the operation of the bill, it was Ireland. He could not consent to render this bill permissive, and thought he was bound to press the question without further delay.
Sir It. H. Tnglis trusted his hon. and learned Friend would not withdraw his motion. Every promise of opposition to this hill had been amply redeemed, for it had been opposed at every stage.
The House divided on the original motion :—Ayes 76; Noes 78: Majority 2. List of the Ayes.
Inglis, Sir R. H.
Tithes (irblasd), Issob Of ExChequer Bilu.] On the motion of Lord John Russell, the House resolved itself into a Committee upon the Tithes (Ireland) Issue of Exchequer Bills. ; la the Committee the nable Lori i
'not exceeding the residue of the sum af i million, remaining unappropriated, under an
; Act of the 3rd and 4th of King William the 4lh, cap. 100, and under an Act af the Sih and 7 th of hia said Majesty, cap. 108,be issued ind applied, together with the instalments paid, or which may be paid, under the fiatmentioned Act, to the relief of the owners of Compositions for Tithes in Ireland, for the years 1836 and 1837. and that the Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury be authorised to remit such instalments in certain cases."
Mr. Hume rose to move, that the grant to the Church in Ireland would be highly unjust to the people of England and Scotland, and subversive of those principles on which good government and equal justice conld alone be maintained. In 1833, when a loan was proposed to the Irish clergy, under the pretence of procuring peace for Ireland; he opposed that proposition, because he objected to the principle of a price being paid, for the settlement of dissentions in that country, being persuaded that the result would be the contrary. It was said, then, that the burden of tithes being transferred from the occupying tenant to the landlord, the peaceable and quiet payment of the money would be procured. But, after five years' experience, they were in no better condition for securing peace in Ireland than before. In 1835, it was proposed to reduce the Irish church, by abolishing the fifty sinecure benefices, and reducing overpaid livings; and when it was understood that, by this measure, the Church Establishment in Ireland would be rendered more iu unison with the feelings of the ['tuple of that country, he did not object to the sacrifice then recommended, in
hopes that peace would be thereby secured. But the perversity of the friends of the Irish Church lost that bill. In his opinion, the House was violating the best principles of good government, and was telling the people of Ireland that if they would only resist the law for one or two years, they would have a premium for doing so; but that those who had yielded to the law, and paid their tithes, were to be punished. Was that, he would ask, a sound state of things, and how could those who proposed this grant reconcile their feelings to it? In August, 1833, the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworih, when he moved that any loan to the people of Ireland should not be taken as a grant, was not prepared to state that it should be so, although he agreed to the loan, observing, that a grant would be a premium for the resistance of the law. It was for the right hon. Baronet to settle between the country and himself, if he adopted a different course in the present instance. Upon that occasion the hon. Baronet, (the Member for Oxford,) Sir R. Inglis, agreed with the right hon. Baronet, (the Member for Tamworth), that a premium would be held out for the violation of the law by making a grant.
The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, used the following words :—
"There is another party whose interests must be considered in the matter, besides the clergy of Ireland; I mean the people of England, who have already paid their own tithes. This sum ought to be paid by the people of Ireland; in what proportion by the landlord and tenant, I will not now slop to discuss; but if this legal charge is to be transferred to the people of England, who have already obeyed the law, it will certainly be holding out a premium to the disobedience of the law." "This principle of escaping from temporary difficulties by votes of money from the public purse, is one which I foresee will involve the country in inextricable confusion."
And what said the hon.* Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford? Why, he used these words:
"I agree with the right hon. Member for Tamworih, in thinking that the principle of the proposed measure is liable to great objections. We are actually giving a premium to disobedience of the law, and the amount of that reward is proportionate to the success of the resistance. By such a course, do we not hold out an inducement to people to violate the law? Let us not deceive ourselves in this instance, as in every other: the demand and the supply will regulate each other. In UI37
and 1838, it will be found, that the new machinery will not work so well as was expected, and another measure will be brought in to relieve the landlord as well as the tenant from the payment of the tithes. By the proposition now submitted, it is proclaimed, that those who have baffled the law for one year shall receive a premium of ten per cent., whilst those who have succeeded in setting it at defiance for two years, shall obtain one of twenty-five per cent. If this is not the moral of the measure, I know not what is."
He put it to the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, and the hon. Baronet near him, Sir R. Inglis, whether they could consistently support the present resolution, and adhere to the opinions expressed by them in 1833? He did not blame his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Dublin (Mr. O'Connell), for the hon. and learned Gentleman held the same language now that he held in 1833. If any advance of money would procure peace for Ireland, he, for one, was prepared to make any advance. But he thought such a course would be making the matter worse, and after the experience of five years, he was astonished that any body could expect a different result. They had already endeavoured to settle the question of tithes in Ireland three different times, and thrice had the bill sent up by that House to the other been rejected. At first they sent up a bill without an appropriation clause, and that was rejected, although he would venture to say, that those who then rejected that bill, had since regretted their so doing. They then sent up a bill with the appropriation clause, and that also had been rejected. He was convinced, that it was only by a better and fairer appropriation of the revenues of the Church of Ireland, that the peace of that country could be secured for any length of time; and as such an appropriation was wanting in this bill, he was quite sure, that the grant of a million would not effect the object they had in view. It was not the payment of tithes, but their appropriation, that had produced so much dissatisfaction in Ireland; and, as the cause of dissatisfaction was not removed, Ireland would be left by this bill precisely in the same situation which she was in at present. Agitation would, after a time, be again general in Ireland, and would produce the same effect. As this grant, therefore, would do no lasting good for Ireland, and as it inflicted a great and present injustice upon the people of Eng