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tice, to call the attention of the House to the case of certain persons recently appointed to the Commission of the Peace for the city of Edinburgh, and he could assure their Lordships, that he would not have taken up their time at that late period of the Session, if he had not considered this case to be a real grievance, and to present grounds of just complaint. An addition had been made to the number of the magistracy for the city of Edinburgh to the amount of ninety-one, and these, with the persons previously in the commission and official personages, made 187 justices for a population of 150,000 persons. He knew not why this immense array of justice should have been provided. There was little or nothing to do, all the regular business being fully discharged by the magistrates of the city and the sheriff of the county; and he had some right to complain of the selection made; that of the ninety-one lately appointed, eightyseven were notoriously Whigs or Radicals, and four only Tories. Their Lordships were aware, that party spirit ran very high in Edinburgh, and it was assuredly the object of a wise Government not to inflame that party spirit; but no course could have been pursued so likely to excite and increase it, as to make a Commission of the Peace, which, on the face of it, appeared to favour a party that had returned as its particular representatives to Parliament, the right hon. the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the hon. and learned Attorney-general. He understood that the persons who had been thus placed in the commission, were notorious retainers and canvassersfor thosehonorable persons; and further, that many individuals had been left out whom it would have been natural to select for filling the honorary office. Of the entire magistracy, 100 were what were called merchants, although the greater part of these were merely shopkeeper! of a respectable class, and only fourteen of them were Conservatives. In a city containing a great number of bankers, the commission contained the names of only three, one of whom Only was a Conservative; and there were twelve advocates, of whom only two were Conservatives. Of the 155 magistrates, exclusive of official persons, who, being most of them connected with the town council of Edinburgh, were generally of the same political opinions with the present Government, twenty-five were Con
servatives, and 130 Whigs and Radicals. He did the noble and learned Lord the justice to believe, that what he was now stating was new to him; for he could not believe, if the noble and learned Lord bad known that a political list of this sort had been returned to him, he would have given it the sanction of the great seal. The city of Edinburgh, as regarded party feeling, had been tested not merely by the Parliamentary, but by the municipal elections, and he should have expected, that a recommendation coming from the chief magistrate, as lord-lieutenant of the county and city, was one which would have been strictly inquired into. If the noble and learned Lord had not instituted an inquiry as to that list, he must say, that he had not discharged his duty; but at whatever door the blame might lie, this partiality was calculated to produce the greatest mischief. If these justices were to be of any use at all, it must be at a time of considerable riot and confusion; and, at such a time, it was highly desirable, that the inhabitants of the town should have full confidence in their magistrates; and with their feelings excited and inflamed by such a list, it was scarcely to be expected, that they would entertain that necessary degree of confidence in those magistrates; for there was no doubt, that a decided majority of the respectable inhabitants of that city entertained the same political opinions with the majority in that House. Ho should, therefore, move, for copies of the correspondence on the subject of these appointments between the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack.
The Lord Chancellor said, that the noble Earl did him no more than justice in supposing, that he would reject any list which he knew to be framed at all upon the principle of exclusion. He had no knowledge himself of the facts of the case; no complaint had ever been made to him of the persons so appointed, nor had he ever received any application from others claiming to be inserted. A list had been submitted to him by the Lord Provost, in the month of October or November last, and he had written in reply to state, that the names in the Lord Provost's list would be inserted in the new commission. He had acted on the recommendation of the lord-lieutenant of the county of the town of Edinburgh, and he had received no complaint cither before or since that time.
until to-night. By no possibility could a public officer, holding the situation he did, discharge its duties without instantly being subject to attacks of this sort: but it was unnecessary for him to complain of them, as they were manifestly unjust. He did not object to the noble Earl bringing the subject forward, because there might be matter of complaint of which he had no knowledge, being unacquainted with the names in the list, as also with the wants of the locality.
The Earl of Haddington said, that he had made no charge against the noble and learned Lord. He was only surprised, that it did not occur to him to make inquiry into the composition of a list coming from the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. There was another case to which he would just allude. From the county of Dumbarton a memorial had been presented to the noble and learned Lord, from which it appeared that there were three persons of property in the county who had been formerly magistrates, and who were entered as solicitors; they had perhaps properly been struck off; but three others were found on the same list who had no connection with the county, and one of whom was the general agent in Edinburgh for the lord-lieutenant of that county, a supporter of the present Government.
Motion agreed to.
Canada.—Dfxlaratoiiy And InDemnity Bill.] Lord Brougham moved the Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Canada Government Declaratory Bill.
Viscount Melbourne said, before my noble and learned friend leaves the Woolsack, it may be as respectful and convenient to your Lordships, that I should state the course which I intend to pursue in reference to this bill. Your Lordships have determined, unquestionably very contrary to my feelings, to give a second reading to this bill, and it is impossible for me to express my deep concern and my great anxiety for the great and important interests which are now at stake in it. With respect to the objection taken to the ordinances recently promulgated by Lord Durham, that is a point which rests upon a broad principle of law which I do not pretend nor mean to deny—a principle of law very evident, clear, and distinct to lawyers, though not, perhaps, go clearly appre
hended by other persons. It is in favour of and an encouragement to a particular party in that colony, and that party is a party which has lately excited rebellion against this country, and which undoubtedly is bent upon the separation of the two countries. You may depend upon it, my Lords, that such will be the effect of the course which the noble and learned Lord is pursuing; that will be the effect of the course your Lordships have pursued—the practical effect: and the reason why I objected to your Lordships taking that course, and why I endeavoured to dissuade you from taking it was, that it was, impossible for me to conceal the apprehensions with which I look upon this course, and especially when it was taken at such a distance from the scene in which it is to operate, and when it is impossible for us to say in what state or condition of feeling those debates and this bill may find the people and the inhabitants of that colony. Unquestionably I am of opinion, that it would have been far better if your Lordships had not taken that course, that it would have been far more prudent if your Lordships had left that course to be pursued which should be decided upon by her Majesty's Ministers; but as your Lordships have decided otherwise, it is for me now, setting that aside, to state the course which I and my colleagues have considered it our duty to take in consequence of that decision. My Lords, I cannot but say, that looking at these ordinances, and being compelled to admit that one part of them is clearly without the bounds of the jurisdiction of the noble Earl, the Governor-general of Canada, I cannot but say, that 1 felt very much pressed by the argument that fell from my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Ripon) on a former occasion, when he said, that he considered that one part of these ordinances was clearly and distinctly beyond the bounds of the authority that had undertaken to create them ; and when he also said, that with respect to a colony of this nature, a chartered colony, the Crown had not the power of allowing one part and rejecting another, I felt strongly pressed by his argument to come to the conclusion, that her Majesty ought to be advised to disallow these ordinances. On the contrary, in disallowing an ordinance of so solemn a character, I could not avoid taking into consideration the effect which it would produce in enabling the