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thing. Upwards of two months ago I thought it my duty to call your attention most seriously to the state of the business in the Court of Chancery. There is no court, there are no proceedings in any court, to which the recommendation in Her Majesty's Speech would so strongly apply as to the Court of Chancery. I brought the subject under your Lordships' consideration, shortly after the Easter recess; I stated the immense arrear of business in that court, and the remedy that was required. Referring to the arrears, I stated that the evil had become grievous and intolerable. My noble and learned friend, the Master of the Rolls, adverting to those expressions, said the terms were strong, but were hardly strong enough to describe the extent of the evil. And, my Lords, it is impossible to form an adequate idea of the cruelty of the system, unless you direct your attention to some particular case ; then only will you adequately feel, by considering its details, how individuals, and whole families, are ruined, and their prospects for ever blighted, by this delay of justice; then only can you form a just estimate of the extent and magnitude of this evil. Don't let it be supposed for a moment that I am finding fault with the learned judges who preside in that court: they are all persons faithful in the discharge of their respective duties-vigorous, active, learned, able men. But they have not power, not physical strength, to cope with the evil: the force of the court is not adequate for that purpose; this is admitted -it is avowed by every person acquainted with the subject. When I brought the matter forward, I laid before your Lordships a plan for remedying the evil, which I understood, at the time, was assented to by my noble and learned friend on the woolsack, and by Her Majesty's Ministers. It was assented to by my noble and learned friend opposite (Lord Brougham); and I did expect-indeed I understood we had something like a pledge, that some bill would be brought in during the present session of Parliament, to remedy the evil. It was stated, indeed, by my noble and learned friend on the woolsack, that I did not go far enough : but he was willing, as I understood, to try what I proposed; which, to a considerable extent at least, would, even according to his admission, have provided a remedy for the evils of the present system : but, from that time to this, we have heard nothing from
Her Majesty's Ministers on the subject. They have not touched this grievance, this intolerable grievance. The more speedy and certain administration of justice was stated to be a matter of the first importance in the Queen's Speech ; the attention of your Lordships and of Ministers was earnestly directed to the subject; we had a sort of pledge that it would be immediately attended to ; but, from that time to the present, no steps whatever have been taken to redeem that pledge. But, my Lords, it may be supposed that Ministers have been engiged upon other measures for reforming the law and rendering the administration of justice both speedy and certain. I look around in vain for any thing as the fruit and result of their labours upon this subject. No bill has been introduced into this House, or come up from the other House of Parliament, on this important matter. The whole is a blank. There was, indeed, a measure which had been lingering through Parliament for three sessions, relative to Bankrupt Estates in Scotland, and to which no opposition was offered. There was also a bill for the purpose of increasing the salaries and making some trifling alterations in the Supreme Court of Scotland. But, with respect to England, there has been no attempt whatever to perforin the promises which Her Majesty's Ministers held out in the speech from the throne ; and upon a subject which they themselves justly described as of'the first importance. They have done nothing to proinote the more speedy and certain administration of justice. Seeing the noble Baron, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster opposite, reminds me of the extent of this supineness. The noble Baron, three years ago, directed a commission to inquire into the state of the Court of Chancery within his jurisdiction; a Commissioner was appointed, he immediately went down to make the necessary inquiries, but no report has yet been made, nothing further has been done - matters stand precisely where they did.
My Lords, I have now gone through the particulars noticed in the speech from the throne. I have stated to you what were the promises and pledges given in that speech by Her Majesty's Ministers at the commencement of the session; and I have shewn you what has been the performance, or rather I should say the absence of all performance, on their part, relative to these important subjects. What is the conclusion to be drawn from such a state of things ? Obviously this : Her Majesty's Ministers, at the commencement of the session, stated in this document, deliberately and in terms, the opinion they themselves entertained as to the measures of legislation which the interests of the country required; they stated what, in their judgment, the country had a right to expect from a vigorous, an able, and an effective administration. Not one of these measures has been accomplished. They have thus enabled us to compare their own opinion of what their duty required with their subsequent performance. They have thus pronounced their own condemnation. The ministry has passed judgment on itself
- habes confitentem reum ; and yet, my Lords, these men still continue to hold the reins, without being able to direct the course, of Government.
Versate diu, quid ferre recusent
Quid valeant humeri," is applicable not to poetry alone; it extends equally and emphatically to those who undertake to conduct the affairs of a great empire. To undertake the conduct of such affairs, without possessing the vigour, or the capacity, or the parliamentary confidence and support necessary to carry such measures as are essential to the interests of the country, is considered, and justly, by the constitution of these realms, as a high misdemeanour, as subjecting the parties to impeachment. And yet this is the course which has been pursued by the noble Viscount and his colleagues. This, at the present moment, is their actual state and condition. I here take leave of the measures referred to in the speech from the throne.
The Ministers found it necessary to attempt something something to gain the support of at least a certain class of their followers; and it seems to have occurred to theni, that nothing was so well suited to their purpose as some measure on the subject of general Education a matter undoubtedly, my Lords, of the first importance, and deeply interesting to the welfare of the country. What course, then, would an enlightened, able, and straightforward Ministry have pursued upon this great subject ? They would have prepared a bill containing the principles and the details of their measure; they would have submitted it to Parliament, and have given ample time for the consideration of it, not only by Parliament itself, but by the country, deeply interested as it must have felt on a subject of such a nature. This was the course pursued by my noble and learned friend opposite, who set them a bright example, which they would have done well on this occasion to have imitated. It was the course which a manly, able, and constitutional government would have pursued; but such a course did not suit the views, and was at variance with the principles and practice, of Her Majesty's present advisers. They constantly prefer to the broad highway, in their course of policy, the tortuous by-paths which lead more obscurely and indirectly to the end which they are desirous of attaining. Availing themselves of, and abusing, the confidence which your Lordships had placed in them and in the other House of Parliament, they proceeded, by a vote of that house, carried only by a majority of two, to give effect to the appointment of a committee of general instruction to superintend and control the general education of the country. This policy they pursued for the express,
I had almost said the avowed, purpose of excluding your Lordships from all deliberation on this the greatest of all national subjects. Looking at the composition of your Lordships' house, do I say too much when I assert, that no assembly in the world is better qualified to consider, to discuss, and to advise on, such a subject ? Yet the policy--the little and narrow policy I must call it- of Her Majesty's Ministers has been to exclude you from all consideration of it, and to proceed exclusively on the vote of the other House of Parliament. But of whom does this Committee of Education consist? There is the Chancellor of the Exchequer; there is the noble Viscount at the head of the Board of Works, who has of late been so active in the business of this house; there is also the Secretary of State for the Home Department; and lastly, and as a matter of course, the President of the Council. Such is the composition of this Committee — such the Board which has to form plans and to digest schemes for the superintendence and conduct of the general education of the country. With the greatest possible respect for these individuals, I must say, that they are not exactly the description of persons whom I should have selected, or whom I believe the nation would have selected, for the discharge of so delicate and important a trust. We find, in their very first publication, one of them betraying his ignorance of the very terms of the science of which he is appointed a professor. And what has been their first act? They published their scheme; it was circulated throughout the country, and it was met every where with universal reprobation; and not only in England, but also in the northern part of the island. So strong was the feeling excited against it, that though Her Majesty's Ministers endeavoured to conciliate the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, by placing three hundred livings at their disposal, they passed a unanimous vote in condemnation of this scheme.
Your Lordships considered it your duty to address the Throne upon the subject, not because you had been treated with indignity by Her Majesty's ministers, but because you thought the interests of the country required that as a branch of the Legislature, you should have been consulted upon a subject of such extensive and immeasurable importance. I rejoice that you did so; and, if for no other reason, for this
that we have thereby discovered what are the further objects and intentions of Her Majesty's Ministers. It might otherwise have been supposed that this Committee of Instruction was a mere temporary body, appointed to dispose of the sum of 30,0001. voted by the House of Commons; but from the answer which the noble Viscount advised Her Majesty to give to your address, we are, for the first time, let into the secret that the system is intended to be permanent; for we are told that the proceedings of the Board are to be submitted to both Houses of Parliament annually. They are establishing, then, by the votes of the House of Commons, a permanent system for the superintendence and direction of education in this country. As to the other part of the answer which the noble Viscount advised, it is a mere mockery, though I can hardly suppose it was so intended by the noble Viscount. You complained, my Lords, that you had not been allowed to exercise any judgment upon this important subject; and what is the reply? “Of the proceedings of this Committee, annual reports will be laid before Parliament, so that the House of Lords will be enabled to exercise its judgment upon them.” But when