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land of this country into competition with he might himself be said to represent the the richest land of Ireland and Scotland, district to which he alluded, and could which imported agricultural produce into contradict him in any statement he should England with a facility of conveyance un advance if it was incorrect or erroneous. precedented hitherto. A steam-vessel was Birmingham was the part of England he incessantly employed in transporting the would select; and he did so more particuproduce of the most fertile districts in the larly, as it was the nucleus of a certain west of Ireland to Liverpool, whence it political union, which had extended its rawas as rapidly transmitted to Manchester, mifications elsewhere, originating in Birwhere the cargoes were immediately dis- ' mingham, he presumed, on account of the posed of. In short, the effect of this in- pre-eminence of suffering among the introduction of Irish produce on the agri- habitants over their fellow sufferers in discultural resources of England was pre. tress. Most willingly would he give the cisely similar to that occasioned in the 'hon. Member his choice of a test or criteWest-India islands by the annexation of rion of prosperity, and by his own selection the rich land of Demerara to the British he should abide. His object was, to comCrown. The causes which he had men- pare the circumstances of the inhabitants tioned would continue to operate, maugre in 1818 with those under which they were all our anxiety to remove them or to so loudly complaining in 1830, in order to neutralize their necessary effects. He had ascertain how far the bill of 1819 biad taken leave of the Currency Question, and operated as a cause of their depression. did not intend again to resume it. The And first as to the population. In the hon. Member opposite, he perceived, shook year 1818, there were 18,000 premises, his head on his saying this ; but he hoped including warehouses, in Birmingham; that he would not shake it again during whereas, in 1828, it contained no less than the Session, if the gesture was indicative 22,000 inhabited houses, exclusive of of a resolution to bring the subject again warehouses. The hon. Member's arguunder their consideration. In reply to those ments went to prove that the alteration in declaimers who had so vehemently con- the Currency had depressed the value of demned the bill of 1819, as ruinous to the property, but he was assured that there country, he should not deal in counter- was, nevertheless, in Birmingham, a great declamation, or answer their vague as increase in its value since the bill had sertions and inconsequent conclusions by a been introduced. Three acres in the similar mode of defence, but would rather neighbourhood of the town had been confine himself to a few facts, which he purchased in 1827 for 6001., which were submitted were quite suflicient to confute since sold for 2,4261., and ground rents, their misrepresentations. He had en- where forty years remained unexpired, deavoured to ascertain the bearing of this were disposed of at 100 years' purchase. obnoxious measure in several of the large Land which had been sold in 1826 at manufacturing districts, by inquiries into 3,5001., was bargained for in last Nothe condition of the population now, as vember at 4,2001. The number of licensed compared with what it was at the period traders amounted in 1820 to only 198, but of its introduction. In the town of Man-might be estimated in 1829 so high as chester a very animated controversy, the 1,150. Then with respect to the conHouse was probably informed, was at pre- sumption of the luxuries of life, there was sent going forward, as to whether the in- an increase in exactly the same ratio. The habitants were distressed or not; some four-wheeled carriages which were charged contending that they were, and some that with assessed taxes in 1819 were only 38 ; they were not; nor was it probable that in 1822 they were 44; in 1824 they reached the contest would ever know an end until 94; in 1826 they amounted to 106; and circumstances should decide the question in 1828 to 157. The hon. Member might by their indisputable authority. He should say that four-wheeled-carriages were the then, pass over Manchester, and likewise vehicles of the rich, he would descend Liverpool and Leeds, as there were others therefore to those of the poor : the numbetter entitled by local knowledge to speak ber of two-wheeled-carriages in Birmingas to the existing state of those places ham in 1819 was 301; in 1822 321; in than he could pretend to be, but he would | 1823 386; and in 1828 no less than 471 ; select the fairest example, where he could so that whether the House looked at the meet the bon. Member on fair grounds, as vehicles of the poor or those of the rich, the result was equally a proof that Bir- | originator of the first Motion that deference mingham had increased in prosperity since and respect to which his zeal, assiduity, 1819. Horses which were charged assessed and long cogitation upon the subject had taxes in 1819 were in number 923; in so deservedly entitled him. The Motion 1822 they amounted to 791, but in 1823 of the Member for Shaftesbury he consiand 1825, when the tax was taken off, dered by much the better of the two. If there were no means of ascertaining the such distress as was described did in re.. progressive increase. In 1828, however, ality exist, it was greatly preferable that they might amount to 977. The manu- an inquiry should be conducted by a comfacturing activity, he thought, would be mittee of the whole House, where all best estimated by the amount of tolls on Members were on a fair equality, and the roads in the vicinity of Birmingham; where the public was thoroughly acand here also the same increase was mani- quainted with their proceedings. But the fest; for the tolls on the Holyhead, Stour. hon. Baronet proposed the appointment of bridge, and London roads had been let, a committee of twenty-one Members, who in 1822, for 1,2001. a year; but in 1829 were to sit and inquire by oral evidence into they brought 1,7671. The tolls on the the extent and causes of the distress, and Kidderminster-road, likewise, were let, in also to suggest a remedy. Was it possible 1820, at 1,1001. a year; whereas in 1828, (he put it to any dispassionate man) that they were raised to 1,6551. The tolls on such a committee, with such a subject the Bromsgrove and Birmingham roads let before them, could present a satisfactory in 1822, for 1,1641.; in 1824 for 1,5561. and report during either this or the ensuing in 1828 for 1,7221. A like increase took Session. He hoped that the House would place in the item of canals. The custom reject both Motions, not because most of on the Worcester and Birmingham canal, those who supported them would desire to in 1821 and 1822, averaged at 1001., and have an alteration in the currency, but in 1828 and 1829, its relative prosperity from a conviction, that if an inquiry of this was marked by the average of 1651., making nature were instituted, large classes in the a difference of 65 per cent. The old Bir- country would immediately infer that a demingham canal in 1821 and 1822, averaged preciation of the standard, or some meaat 931. and in 1828 and 1829 at 105). These sure affecting the currency, was contemfacts, in his opinion, clearly established plated. Certain indications of a return to the conclusion, that the bill of 1819 had prosperity were at present beginning to exnot been productive of that overwhelming hibit themselves, and he had received, no distress which was described as the conse- later than that very morning, letters from quence of its operation. Touching the Manchester and Leeds, which induced subject of that night's debate, which, after him to believe that we had already reached all, had no very considerable share in the the lowest point of depression. Hon. discussion, he could not see what they Members had observed, that we were enwere to do with the Motion of the hon. titled at this peculiar season to witness a Member for Shaftesbury, who had proposed revival of our manufactures, if the distress that the House should resolve itself into a was not entirely irretrievable, and he conCommittee to consider of the causes of curred with them in thinking that the that general distress complained of in the breaking up of the severe and long-contipetitions, and endeavour to devise a remedy nued frost ought to produce such an effect for the same. On his asking the hon. as they anticipated. But he feared the Member, at a quarter to six, what was the disease less than the remedy. The hapless precise motion which he intended to bring fate of a patient under the joint superinforward, the hon. Gentleman replied, that tendence of three physicians was adverted he was too old a soldier to give him any to in the progress of the debate, and he information upon the subject. The result, should entertain similar fears for the nation, however, of a fortnight's deliberation, was whether submitted to the doctoring of 658 a motion for a committee of the whole of the faculty, as proposed by one GentleHouse, instead of a Select Committee, and man, or to twenty-one as suggested by he thought that the hon. Member had ju.. another. He did not like to trust the diciously preferred framing his Motion as constitution of the country to either of he had done. But the hon. Baronet, the those hon. Members, with their bundle of Member for Shoreham, had certainly not prescriptions, which only excited in him treated him well. He had not paid the an involuntary shudder when they were produced. In refusing to assent to both as a writer and as a reasoner,--striking in propositions now submitted for their adop- his eloquence,-well versed in ancient and tion, they were not abandoning their duty, modern learning, and accomplished in his but acting consistently with the true inter- mode of applying that learning. [The loud ests of those whom it was intended to re- and general burst of laughter which follieve, shunning an inquiry which would lowed this sentence prevented our hearing only cause fruitless anxiety and excitement, whether the hon. and learned Member and awaken hopes that were doomed to finished the encomium here.] The authodisappointment ere they were formed. rity of men like the worthy Member for
Sir C. Wetherell said, he was not a little Newark was at least better than the unsurprised that nearly the whole speech of opened budgets of the right hon. Secretary the right hon. Secretary was a defence of and the right hon. Master of the Mini. what was called his own bill, and that He meant to support the amendment for scarcely five minutes had been devoted by the appointment of a Select Committee. the right hon. Secretary to the discussion He thought that the country had a right of the real practical question before the to information by means of its RepresentaHouse. Nor had the hon. Member for tives; and he believed the best way, as Callington been behind him in steering well as the most usual and parliamentary from the subject. They had agreed in way, of gaining that information, was to nothing but in going astray from the ques- appoint a Select Committee. He rejected tion under consideration. The hon. Mem- and repudiated the notion that those who ber for Callington was particeps criminis voted for this Motion meant to disturb the with the right hon. Secretary in commit- present currency, and to substitute a paper ting this offence against the proceedings of currency. He meant no such thing; and the House. The real question was, whether to prevent this, and get rid of the objection so much of agricultural and commercial on this account, let there be an instruction distress prevailed in this country as would to the committee that they should not enjustify the House in instituting the pro- tertain the Currency Question. He begged posed inquiry. The right hon. Secretary, to press upon the consideration of the and his Majesty's other Ministers said, that House this mode of getting rid of the obthere was no distress at all. [Cries of jection which induced the right hon. Secre“No” from all parts of the House.] [Mr. tary to oppose the Motion. A committee Secretary Peel said, he must beg the hon. would at least obtain some valuable inMember's pardon: but his Majesty's Minis- formation for the House. The right hon. ters said no such thing.) Well, then, the Secretary had alluded to several periods hon. Member for Bramber had said so, and of distress subsequent to 1792, but in the speeches of many other hon. Members 1793 and in 1811, under the administrahad gone to the same extent. There were tion both of Mr. Pitt and Lord Liverpool, great contradictions on this point. The when distress prevailed, those Ministers hon. Member for Bramber (Mr. Irving) said proposed that committees should be apthat, far from there being any distress at pointed to inquire into the distress: with Coventry, the weavers there were as fresh as these illustrious examples before the right a bunch of their own ribands, while the hon. hon. Secretary, it was extraordinary that Member (Mr. Fyler) near him, who was in he should pursue a directly different course. the habit of visiting these weavers, and Conceiving that the appointment of a Select shaking hands with them, said that their Committee would be neither derogatory to distress was great; and he was inclined to the dignity of Ministers, nor imply a centake the opinion of the hon. Member for sure on them, while it would give satisfacCoventry in preference to that of the hon. tion to the people, he should certainly vote Member for Bramber, who did not live at for the Amendment of the hon. Baronet. Coventry, but, he believed, in Richmond- Mr. O'Connell rose amidst loud cries of terrace. Then, again, they were told by “ Question.” As soon as the hon. Memsome hon. Members that there was no dis- ber could obtain a hearing, he said that he tress, or next to none, at Leeds; but in felt he could not at that late hour do juscontradiction to such statements, they had tice to his constituents, and that he begged, the authority of an hon. Member whom he therefore, to move that the debate be was afraid he should not describe correctly, adjourned. [Cries of “No, no.") -- he meant the able, the enlightened, the Mr. Peel said, it appeared to him that accomplished Member for Newark-able this discussion might be very easily brought to a close now, and that he did not think he could not concur with them that they would be consulting the public in this small additional duty of two-pence terest by devoting their time for a fourth per gallon would do them any injury. He night to a measure which caused all other approved of the measure for removing the business to be neglected. He had done Duty on Beer and augmenting the Duty on all he could to bring on this Motion, and Spirits, which, in his opinion, would do no to have it fully discussed, and he should injury either to the grower of barley, or to therefore oppose the Amendment of the the distiller.) hon. Member for Clare, and take the sense of the House upon it if it were necessary.
REFORMS IN COURTS OF JUSTICE.] [After a desultory conversation on the The order of the day was read for the Moquestion of adjournment between Mr. tion of the Lord Chancellor to introduce Hume, Sir E. Knatchbull, Mr. Huskisson, a Bill to facilitate the Administration of Mr. Davenport, and other hon. Members, Justice; on which the gallery was cleared for a division. The Lord Chancellor rose, to make, he While we were excluded from the gallery, said, his promised statement concerning we understood two divisions took place : the improvements in progress
and in conthe first on the simple question of the ad templation, in the modes of procedure in journment of the House till Monday, on the Courts of Law and Equity, and Ecclewhich there appeared - Ayes 9; Noes siastical Courts, as he had given notice he 341. The second division was on the would do on occasion of moving the first Motion, that this House do now adjourn: reading of a bill connected with those imA yes 12; Noes 329.
provements. His object, on the present (An Hon. Member, as we were informed, occasion, was to explain the general nature then expressed his intention of re-divid- and description of those measures of iming the House on the Motion of adjourn-provement so that their Lordships might ment till Monday: upon which
be the better able to understand the separate Mr. Peel said, he should be unwilling to provisions as they came in detail before throw any obstruction in the way of hon. them. He felt himself more particularly Members expressing their opinions, and called on to do so, as the subject was mentherefore would propose that the further tioned in his Majesty's Speech at the discussion of the Question should stand opening of the Session, and the attention over till Tuesday.--Ordered accordingly. of the two Houses of Parliament called to
it. His Majesty had then stated, that his
attention had been of late earnestly directed II O USE OF LORDS.
to various important considerations con
nected with improvements in the general Monday, March 22.
administration of justice: their LordMinutes.] Returns ordered. Copies of three Letters from ships must therefore be prepared to expect the Court of Directors of the East India Company to the
some communication similar to that he Governor-general in Council at Fort William, Bengal; to proposed to make. He should not feel it the Governor in Council at Bombay, all dated March 10th, necessary however to enter into
from the consideration that each measure Petitions presented. Praying that the Trade to India might must be particularly submitted to their
Borough of Wigan, in Lancashire : - ByLord ARBUTHNOT, Lordships' attention as they all came suc-
posed to do at present was, to lay before senting the Distressed State of Agriculture, and praying their Lordships the general scope of the relief:- and from the Agricultural Society of Holderness, to proposed improvements. Even of this he the same effect.
[The noble Earl stated, that the farmers was aware, that the several parts might were living on their capital, that the la- appear dry and forbidding; but their Lordbourers were in a state of starvation, and he ships would no doubt recollect that these strongly recommended the petitions to their were matters of the utmost importance to Lordships' notice.)
the liberty, property, and even the lives of And by the Earl of Rosebery, from the farmers of West the subject, and would therefore be disLothian, against the new Tax on Spirits in Scotland. posed to listen with the attention the mat
[The Petitioners were most respectable, ter deserved. In the first place, he solithe noble Earl said, and many of them cited their Lordships' attention to what had were personally known to himself. But I been done, and what was intended to be VOL. XXIII.
done, with respect to the Criminal Law, in , Courts was originally differently constithe course of the present Session. It was tuted ; the Court of King's Bench was a to bis right hon. friend, the Secretary of Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, the Court State for the Home Department, that the of Common Pleas entirely one of a Civil gratitude of the country was most particu- character, while the jurisdiction of the larly due for what had been done in this Court of Exchequer was confined to the respect. From his situation he had been cognizance of those suits which concerned enabled to pay, and had paid, most parti- the royal revenue. In process of time the cular attention to the state of the Criminal Court of King's Bench assumed jurisdicLaw, and had in that department already tion in certain civil cases, and at length introduced many important improvements. in all civil cases whatever. It had interHe had abolished many obsolete and useless fered first in the civil suits of those who forms, such as those about benefit of clergy, were in the custody of its own officer; and and other matters of the same description, then by a fictitious allegation, which it which impeded instead of promoted the ad- would not allow to be controverted, that ninistration of justice. Having brushed away all persons who chose to bring suits into these antiquated, and now cumbrous and the Court were in the custody of its own inconvenient appendages, he was in a con- officer, it assumed jurisdiction in all civil dition to look at the state of the law itself, suits whatever. So the Court of Exchequer, as it was scattered through the Statute- which in its origin was a Court whose book; and beginning with the subject of jurisdiction was confined solely to the larceny, he went on to consolidate the laws Crown revenues, assumed a similar jurisrelative to malicious offences against per- diction over all civil suits whalever, by sons and property. He was now employed means of a fiction, whereby it was alleged, in consolidating the whole of the laws re- and the allegation not allowed to be conlative to forgery, and relative to the punish- troverted, that the plaintiff was debtor and ment of death for violations of the right of accountant to his Majesty, and that by property. On the whole, he had caused the defendant's refusing to pay him what to be repealed no less than four hundred he owed him, he rendered him ihe less able statutes, and had taken away the punish- to pay the debt due from him to the Sovement of death from nearly three hundred reign. In this manner the Court of Exoffences. For this, too, as well as for chequer contrived to assume jurisdiction other things, his right hon, friend was well in all civil cases. Their Lordships might entitled to the gratitude of his country. easily understand that a different mode of There was manifestly a very great advant- practice prevailed in each of these Courts, age in the course pursued; for, instead of and that the forms were distorted with such a multitude of particular Acts, the fictions. With respect to the practice of whole of the law on a given subject was the Court of King's Bench, it required two reduced to five or six Acts. It was by this closely-printed octavos, with distinct rules means brought more distinctly under the ' in each page, to give a fair view of it; and view of the legislator, and as be advanced the case with respect to the Common Pleas with a certain set of improvements, he saw was the same. With respect to the Court the way more clearly towards others; he of Exchequer, there was no corresponding could more accurately detect defects, and publication; but if there had been one, it with greater facility and safety apply the must have been still more complicated remedy. From the consideration of this and voluminous. It was intended by the branch of the subject, he passed on to the measures now in contemplation, to shorten proceedings with respect to the Civil Law and simplify the practice of these Courts, Courts. Their Lordships were aware that and to assimilate them to each other, and two years ago a Commission was appointed to curtail the expense of suits in all the to examine into the state of the Law of this Courts as much as possible. The effect Country, as administered in the superior would be, to render the process not only Courts of Law. That Commission had moreeasily understood by people in general, made two Reports, and a Bill had been but more intelligible to those persons who already prepared, and another was in pro- might be preparing their way to the Bar. gress, to carry its suggestions into effect. It was lamentable to think that it was neThe superior Courts of Law in this country cessary for those who were intended for were the Courts of King's Bench, Common the Bar to spend so much of their time in Pleas, and the Exchequer. Each of these making themselves masters of mere forms