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Houses of Parliament. Legislation was a perfect blank. It seems that Her Majesty's Ministers, either from want of energy or capacity, or from not possessing the confidence of the other House of Parliament, are, while that house can be considered as fairly representing the country, incapable of dealing with it and conducting the business of the Government. It is not until the benches of the house have become empty, not until 550 members, as we are told, have quitted the metropolis, and the house is reduced to such a state as to be little more than a mere Government board, that they are roused from their supineness, or able to conduct in any manner the legislation of the country. This, my Lords, is a striking illustration of the correctness of the anticipation of my noble friend, the noble Duke, when he asked, at a former period, with reference to a House of Commons composed like the present—How is the King's Government to be carried on? The anticipation of the noble Duke has been amply verified by the result; for as long as the House of Commons continues to be a House of Commons, and to form the representation of the country, it appears the Queen's Government cannot be carried on; and it is not until it ceases to assume that shape, that any thing like legislation can be conducted through that house by Her Majesty's Ministers.

My Lords, I consider the fair and just mode of examining the subject I am about to submit to your Lordship, is to refer, in the first instance, to Her Majesty's gracious Speech ; which must, of course, be considered as the Speech of the Ministers, pronounced at the opening of the session. I look to that speech for the purpose of ascertaining what were the views of the Government, and what were the measures they considered essential to the interests of the country; and looking to the speech with that view, let us inquire to what extent the promises held out and the pledges given in it have been redeemed by Her Majesty's Government. In that speech, my Lords, there are four principal points to which the attention of Parliament was particularly directed. The Irish Municipal Bill, we were told, was essential to the interests of that part of the empire; we were called upon to take measures for the purpose of settling the important affairs of Canada ; we were told, that to carry into effect the recom

mendations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was a matter of - great urgency; we were further informed, that it was a matter of the first importance that we should direct our attention to measures which would be submitted to us for the more speedy and certain administration of justice. These, my Lords, were the prominent topics of Her Majesty's Speech ; and I am desirous, in the first instance, of leading your Lordships through the course of the proceedings of this session, to shew how far these important objects, to which our attention was thus directed, have been realized.

First, then, with respect to the Irish Municipal Bill. It is not my intention to enter into any details on that question. It came up to your Lordships' house, where it was amended in a manner to make it correspond, or nearly so, with the bill of the last session. What, then, was the course pursued by the noble Viscount? What was the objection, placed as it were in front of the battle, and urged against the amendments proposed by your Lordships ? It was the amendment made with respect to the freemen. Now, it is remarkable, as shewing how forgetful the noble Viscount was of the past history of this bill — how careless and inattentive to its provisions — that exactly the same amendment had been made last session. It met with no opposition from the Government when it went down to the other House of Parliament, although many other objections were urged against the measure in its amended shape. This clause, with a trifling addition, was assented to; and yet now, so inconsistent were Ministers with themselves, that the amendment which before had been acquiesced in, to which no objection was even whispered by the Government, was put prominently forward as a ground for rejecting the bill. This is not all. Another amendment was opposed with great zeal and earnestness. That amendment related to the appointment of sheriffs. It turned out, that three years ago the noble Viscount had himself made in a former bill precisely the same amendment, and defended it upon just and constitutional grounds; but now, because the amendment proceeded from this side of the house, the noble Viscount turned round and gave it his most decided opposition. So much, my Lords, for the consistency of Her Majesty's Ministers, and the manner in which they have treated this important bill. I can only ascribe this to thoughtlessness, to indifference, to their utter carelessness about a measure which they told us, in the speech from the throne, was so “ essential" to the interests of Ireland. But there was another amendment made by your Lordships, the effect of which was to strike out a number of clauses that had been introduced into the bill for the first time, during the present session, in the House of Commons. These clauses were never heard of till the present year. They related to the grand jury cess, the powers of which were to be transferred to the town councils. They were not even introduced into the bill when it was first brought into the House of Commons; but in that memorable committee of the 19th April they were, for the first time, ingrafted on the bill. We objected to that alteration. We said, “ Let the law in this respect remain as it is." We struck out these clauses. The noble Viscount told us it would defeat the bill in another place. I said, that is impossible: it is an assumption of privilege and power to which we never can subscribe. You introduce clauses which you call money clauses, and ingraft them on a bill which is, in itself, a complete measure; we strike them out, and say, let the law remain as it is, or at all events introduce them in a separate bill; and we are told this is to be fatal to the whole measure. When the bill went down to the other house, this alteration did prove fatal to the measure; but it is worthy of remark, that at the very time when the amendment was objected to, it was admitted by the noble Lord who had the conduct of the bill in that house, that the clauses might and therefore ought to have been made the subject of a separate bill. To ingraft them on the Municipal Bill — to tack them to it — was an encroachment upon the privileges of this house. It was a clumsy proceeding, and if done with design, could only have been intended to keep on foot something that might be considered in certain quarters as a grievance of which the Government might avail itself as occasion might require. Her Majesty's Ministers have thus made themselves responsible for the loss of this bill. The tacking of such clauses to such a bill was an unjustifiable act; it was advised by Ministers, and formed a pretext for getting rid of the measure. They, therefore, have themselves defeated a bill calculated, according to their own statement, essentially to promote the interests of Ireland. So much, then, as to the first measure alluded to in Her Majesty's gracious Speech from the throne.

Now as to the measures called for by the state of Canada. We all felt that nothing could be more pressing and more urgent than the necessity for taking that most important subject into consideration early in the session. We felt that every hour's delay, and what has since occurred has confirmed the justness of our opinion, would add to the difficulty of the subject. Noble Lords hastened up to this house from all parts of the country and the Continent, anxious to be present at the earliest moment during the discussion of these important measures. But nothing was done; no measure was even subunitted for consideration. A few conversations of a personal nature took place, and thus the matter ended. At length, however, at an advanced period of the session, we were told that the plan for settling the Canadas was matured—the plan came forth. A constitution was to be formed for the two provinces, which were to be united into one; this plan, howeven, was not to come into effect till after the expiration of three years—in 1842. The temporary government was to be continued till that time, and thus it became necessary, as a matter of course, from this extension of the duration of the temporary government, that further powers should be given to it, particularly with a view to provide for local improvement. Thus the affair rested, and continued for some time in suspense. Intimation, however, was given, that these measures proposed by Ministers would meet with opposition. It was ascertained that the opposition would be of a vigorous character, and the whole scheme was suddenly abandoned. We were told it was abandoned in consequence of information recently received from Canada. What that information was has never been communicated to your Lordships or the other House of Parliament; and any person who will take the pains to trace the proceedings in Canada for the last six months will find, that no alteration had occurred in the state of things in that country, which could have any influence upon this measure. With the bill fell also the other part of the scheme, which was to continue the temporary government for a period of three years.

But then it was necessary that something should be done, that at least there should be an appearance of legislating for Canada. Therefore it was that that bill, that fragment of a measure which passed the other House of Parliament, was brought up and submitted to your consideration; but so little importance did Her Majesty's Ministers attach to it, that the noble Lord who had the conduct of the bill in this house was unaequainted with its provisions, and the effects of them, and utterly unable to explain them to your Lordships. It would of course have been desirable, if the temporary government of Canada had been prolonged for three years, to give extended powers to the governor, for the purpose of providing for local improvements; but when that plan was abandoned, such necessity no longer existed, and in fact, as the bill is now framed, nothing effectual can be done under it until the next spring; at which time your

Lordships must legislate for Canada, because in the course of the year the powers of the Governor under the former bill will expire. The bill was therefore idle and unnecessary, and was obviously introduced merely for the purpose of making a show of legislation. So much for the redemption of this pledgeso much for the conduct of Her Majesty's Government on this grave and important subject--the settlement of the affairs of Canada.

With respect, my Lords, to the third subject referred to in Her Majesty's Speech, there is an absolute blank : here there is not even a show of legislation. We were to take measures for carrying into effect the recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. A bill was brought into the other House of Parliament for that purpose; it proceeded on a false statement of facts; it was read a second time; nothing further was done with respect to it; it was abandoned. In the speech from the throne it is described as a measure most urgently called for; the recommendation was followed as far as the stage I have mentioned, and by the act of Ministers themselves the measure was then abandoned.

The fourth subject, my Lords, referred to in the Queen's Speech, was stated to be of the first importance. Measures were said to be in preparation to provide for the more certain and speedy administration of justice - a subject, undoubtedly of paramount importance. What has been done, then, in this respect ? As in the case of the recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, literally no

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