• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 April 1828
 May 1828
 June 1828
 July 1828
 Addenda
 Finance accounts
 Index














Group Title: Parliamentary debates (1820-1829)
Title: The parliamentary debates
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073533/00019
 Material Information
Title: The parliamentary debates
Uniform Title: Parliamentary debates (1820-1829)
Physical Description: 20 v. : ; 25 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Great Britain -- Parliament
Hansard, T. C ( Thomas Curson ), 1776-1833
Publisher: Published under the superintendence of T.C. Hansard
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1820-1829
 Subjects
Subject: Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Great Britain -- 1820-1830   ( lcsh )
 Notes
Dates or Sequential Designation: New ser., v. 1 (1820)-v. 20 (1829).
Numbering Peculiarities: Covers Mar. 1820-Feb./Mar. 1829.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073533
Volume ID: VID00019
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 07655703
lccn - sn 85062629
 Related Items
Preceded by: Parliamentary debates for the year 1803 to the present time
Succeeded by: Hansard's parliamentary debates

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    April 1828
        House of Commons - Tuesday, April 22
            Page 1
            Page 3-4
            Page 5-6
            Page 7-8
            Page 9-10
            Page 11-12
            Page 13-14
            Page 15-16
            Page 17-18
            Page 19-20
            Page 21-22
            Page 23-24
            Page 25-26
            Page 27-28
            Page 29-30
            Page 31-32
            Page 33-34
            Page 35-36
            Page 37-38
            Page 39-40
        House of Lords - Thursday, April 24
            Page 41-42
            Page 43-44
            Page 45-46
            Page 47-48
            Page 49-50
            Page 39-40
        House of Commons - Thursday, April 24
            Page 51-52
            Page 53-54
            Page 55-56
            Page 57-58
            Page 49-50
            Page 59-60
            Page 61-62
            Page 63-64
            Page 65-66
            Page 67-68
            Page 69-70
            Page 71-72
            Page 73-74
            Page 75-76
            Page 77-78
            Page 79-80
            Page 81-82
            Page 83-84
            Page 85-86
            Page 87-88
            Page 89-90
            Page 91-92
            Page 93-94
            Page 95-96
            Page 97-98
            Page 99-100
            Page 101-102
            Page 103-104
            Page 105-106
            Page 107-108
            Page 109-110
        House of Lords - Friday, April 25
            Page 111-112
            Page 113-114
            Page 115-116
            Page 117-118
            Page 119-120
            Page 121-122
            Page 123-124
            Page 125-126
            Page 127-128
            Page 129-130
            Page 131-132
            Page 133-134
            Page 135-136
            Page 137-138
            Page 109-110
        House of Commons - Friday, April 25
            Page 139-140
            Page 141-142
            Page 143-144
            Page 145-146
            Page 147-148
            Page 149-150
            Page 151-152
            Page 153-154
            Page 155-156
            Page 137-138
        House of Lords - Monday, April 28
            Page 157-158
            Page 159-160
            Page 161-162
            Page 163-164
            Page 165-166
            Page 167-168
            Page 169-170
            Page 171-172
            Page 155-156
            Page 173-174
            Page 175-176
            Page 177-178
            Page 179-180
            Page 181-182
            Page 183-184
            Page 185-186
        House of Commons - Monday, April 28
            Page 187-188
            Page 189-190
            Page 191-192
            Page 193-194
            Page 195-196
        House of Lords - Tuesday, April 29
            Page 197-198
            Page 199-200
            Page 195-196
        House of Commons - Tuesday, April 29
            Page 201-202
            Page 199-200
            Page 203-204
            Page 205-206
            Page 207-208
            Page 209-210
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            Page 213-214
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            Page 217-218
            Page 219-220
            Page 221-222
            Page 223-224
            Page 225-226
            Page 227-228
            Page 229-230
    May 1828
        House of Lords - Thursday, May 1
            Page 231-232
            Page 233-234
            Page 235-236
            Page 237-238
            Page 239-240
            Page 241-242
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            Page 245-246
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            Page 249-250
            Page 251-252
            Page 253-254
            Page 255-256
            Page 257-258
            Page 229-230
            Page 259-260
        House of Commons - Thursday, May 1
            Page 261-262
            Page 263-264
            Page 265-266
            Page 267-268
            Page 269-270
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            Page 273-274
            Page 275-276
            Page 277-278
            Page 279-280
            Page 259-260
        House of Lords - Friday, May 2
            Page 281-282
            Page 283-284
            Page 285-286
            Page 287-288
            Page 289-290
            Page 279-280
        House of Commons - Friday, May 2
            Page 291-292
            Page 293-294
            Page 295-296
            Page 297-298
            Page 289-290
            Page 299-300
            Page 301-302
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            Page 329-330
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            Page 337-338
            Page 339-340
            Page 341-342
            Page 343-344
        House of Lords - Monday, May 5
            Page 345-346
            Page 347-348
            Page 349-350
            Page 343-344
        House of Commons - Monday, May 5
            Page 351-352
            Page 353-354
            Page 349-350
            Page 355-356
            Page 357-358
            Page 359-360
        House of Lords - Tuesday, May 6
            Page 361-362
            Page 363-364
            Page 365-366
            Page 367-368
            Page 359-360
        House of Commons - Tuesday, May 6
            Page 369-370
            Page 371-372
            Page 373-374
            Page 367-368
            Page 375-376
        House of Commons - Thursday, May 8
            Page 377-378
            Page 379-380
            Page 381-382
            Page 375-376
            Page 383-384
            Page 385-386
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            Page 389-390
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            Page 401-402
            Page 403-404
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            Page 409-410
            Page 411-412
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            Page 469-470
        House of Commons - Friday, May 9
            Page 471-472
            Page 473-474
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            Page 595-596
        House of Lords - Monday, May 12
            Page 595-596
        House of Commons - Monday, May 12
            Page 597-598
            Page 599-600
            Page 601-602
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            Page 605-606
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            Page 595-596
        House of Commons - Tuesday, May 13
            Page 681-682
            Page 683-684
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            Page 687-688
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            Page 679-680
        House of Commons - Wednesday, May 14
            Page 719-720
            Page 721-722
            Page 723-724
            Page 717-718
        House of Commons - Thursday, May 15
            Page 725-726
            Page 727-728
            Page 723-724
            Page 729-730
            Page 731-732
        House of Lords - Friday, May 16
            Page 731-732
        House of Commons - Friday, May 16
            Page 733-734
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            Page 737-738
            Page 731-732
            Page 739-740
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            Page 761-762
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            Page 765-766
            Page 767-768
        House of Lords - Monday, May 19
            Page 769-770
            Page 771-772
            Page 767-768
        House of Commons - Monday, May 19
            Page 773-774
            Page 771-772
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            Page 777-778
            Page 779-780
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        House of Lords - Tuesday, May 20
            Page 815-816
        House of Commons - Tuesday, May 20
            Page 817-818
            Page 819-820
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            Page 815-816
        House of Commons - Wednesday, May 21
            Page 857-858
            Page 859-860
            Page 855-856
        House of Commons - Thursday, May 22
            Page 861-862
            Page 859-860
            Page 863-864
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        House of Lords - Friday, May 23
            Page 899-900
        House of Commons - Friday, May 23
            Page 901-902
            Page 903-904
            Page 899-900
        House of Commons - Friday, May 30
            Page 905-906
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    June 1828
        House of Commons - Monday, June 2
            Page 917-918
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        House of Commons - Tuesday, June 3
            Page 981-982
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            Page 979-980
        House of Lords - Thursday, June 5
            Page 1035-1036
            Page 1033-1034
        House of Commons - Thursday, June 5
            Page 1035-1036
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        House of Lords - Friday, June 6
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            Page 1099-1100
        House of Commons - Friday, June 6
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        House of Lords - Monday, June 9
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        House of Commons - Monday, June 9
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        House of Lords - Friday, June 20
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    July 1828
        House of Commons - Tuesday, July 1
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        House of Commons - Friday, July 11
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        House of Commons - Thursday, July 17
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        House of Lords - Thursday, July 24
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        House of Lords - Monday, July 28
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    Addenda
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        Page 1791-1792
    Finance accounts
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
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        Page viii
        Page ix
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        Page xx
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        Page xxv
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    Index
        Page xxix
        Page xxx
        Page xxxi
        Page xxxii
        Page xxxiii
        Page xxxiv
Full Text



THE


PARLIAMENTARY



DEBATES:


FORMING A CONTINUATION OF THE WORK ENTITLED

" THE PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY OF ENGLAND,

FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE YEAR 1803."


PUBLISHED UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF

MR. HANSAR D.


COMMENCING WITH THE ACCESSION OP GEORGE IV.



VOL. XIX.

COMPRISING THE PERIOD
FROM
THE TWENTY-SECOND DAY OF APRIL,
TO
THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF JULY, 1828.




LONDON:
printeb b Of. FOR BALDWIN AND CRADOCK; J. BOOKER; LONGMAN, REES, ORME, AND CO.;
J. M. RICHARDSON; PARBURY, ALLEN, AND CO.; J. HATCHARD AND SON;
J. RIDGWAY; E. JEFFERY AND SON; J. RODWELL; CALKIN AND BUDD;
R. H. EVANS; J. BOOTH; AND T. C. HANSARD.

1829.














TABLE OF CONTENTS

TO

VOLUME XIX.

NEW SERIES.





I. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF III. KING's SPEECHES.
Loans. IV. PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS.
II. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF V. PROTESTS.
CoMMONS. VI. LISTS.




I. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS.
Page
1828.
Apr. 24. Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill ...................... 39
25. Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill .. ................. 109
28. Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill ...................... 156
29. Lunatic Asylums Regulation Bill ........................ 196
May 1. Wool Trade ........................................ 237
State of the Population of Ireland........................ 239
2. Game Laws Amendment Bill ............................ 279
5. Roman Catholic Claims ................................ 344
W ool Trade .......................................... 345
6. Game Laws Amendment Bill........................... 360
Game Laws-Night Poaching Prevention Bill .............. 365
12. Sale of Game Bill .................................... 595
16. Roman Catholic Claims ................................ 731
19. Roman Catholic Claims-Conference between the two Houses 767
Roman Catholic Claims-Petition of the Catholics of England 768
20. Penryn Disfranchisement Bill............................ 816
23. Greek Prisoners of War ............................... 899
June 5. Scotch Settlement Bill ................................ 1033
6, Provision for the Family of Mr. Canning Pensions Act
Amendment Bill .,.,,.. ,,... .. i... .. ,, ,.. ....,, 1100


s~ I~__~ls _I ~__1__1_ __ ~I_






TABLE OF CONTENTS.
r" Page
..line 9. Roman Catholic Claims ....; ............................ 1133
S10. Roman Catholic Claims ................................ 1214
12U. South American Piracy ............. ........... ..... 1312
Portugal-Lord Beresford's Explanation ..................... 1315
13. Corn Bill ................... .. ............ ..... 1333
16. Stamp Duties it India..... .......... ...... i.......... 1367
Scotch Parochial Settlements ............................ 1369
17. Scotch Peerage Bill .................................. 1392
20. Penryn Disfranchisement Bill............................ 1443
23. Slavery in the West Indies .............................. 1463
26. Corn Bill .................. .................. ....... 1518
July 3. Scotch Small Notes Bill ............................... 1597
15. Game Bill .............. ........... ................. 1690
16. Foreign Policy of the Country-Turkey-Greece-Portugal .. 1709
Protests concerning Greece and Portugal ................. 1741
17. Corporate Funds Bill .................................. 1743
24. National Debt Bill .................................... 1777
28. King's Speech at the Close of the Session........... ...... 1780


II. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Apr. 22. Administration of Justice in the County Palatine of Chester.... 1
Friendly Societies Bill ................................. 13
Anatomical Science-Subjects for Dissection .............. 14
GCorn Laws ............. ........... ... ........... 16
24. Government Annuities-Loss to the Public thereon .......... 49
Mr. M. A. Taylor's Motion on Delays in the Court of
Chancery ......... .. .... ........................... 51
25. Roman Catholic Association-Petition of the Corporation of
Dublin against .............. ....................... 137
Corn Laws ........... .. ... .... ........ .. ....... 141
28. Tax on Foreign W ool ................................. 187
'(urrency-Circulation of Small Notes ................... 190
Corn Laws .......................................... 191
29. Settlement by Hiring Bill ............................. 199
Corn till ................................... ... 208
M.ay 1. Reduced State of Wages................................ 260
Customs and Excise Laws-Recovery of Penalties under...... 262
2. Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill .................... 289
Civil Government of the Canadas ............ ......... 300
5. Law of Evidence Bill-Offences against the Person Bill ...... 350
6. Fraudulent Devises-Liability of Real Property ........... 368
,, ,ot'h Parochial Settlements Bill ........................ 371
7. Sir Francis Brirdett's Motion foi a Commititee on the State of
i.: .' .., :il-'h Laws affecting the Roman Catholics ...............: 375
.;. Te The Debale coniitiued .. ............................ 47
1 2. The bebate continued.. ... ......................;. .... :596
18; Roman Cathlie Claims ........... .. ........ .; 680






TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Page
May 13. Provision for the Family of Mr, Canning. .......... ..... 681
Summary Convictions-Petty Felonies ,. ....... .... .. ... 716
14. Gaol Discipline :.ii.. i...................... ..... 718
Provision for the Family of Mr. Canning ,. ......,,.... 719
15. Case of Mr. Serjeant Rough ............ .............. 724
Usury Laws ........... ..... ~i ... ..... 727
Cities and Boroughs Polls Bill .,....... ..,, .. ,... 728
16. Navy Estimates ......................... .... 731
19. Supply of Water to the Metropolis .,.i....,i ....... 771
State of our Foreign Relation--Turkey and Greece .... 774
East Retford Disfranchisement Bill .... ........... .... 779
Navy Estimates .............. ........... ..... 813
20. Usury Laws.......... ......... .... ..., .... .... 816
Pensions on the Civil List ..,,...........,......... ...... 829
Law of Real Property-Property in Infants and Lunatics....:. 840
Corn Importation Bill..................... ....... .... 843
Provision for the Family of Mr. Canning Pensions Act
Amendment Bill ...................... .......... 846
21. Alehouses' Licensing Bill ....................... .... 855
22. Currency-Small Notes-Lead Ore ............;........ 859
Registration of Voters in Cities and Boroughs .,.. ...... 868
Church Briefs ....................... .......... ..4 872
Recovery of Small Debts Bill...............:............ 876
Poor Laws .................. ............. .. .... 880
Provision for the Family of Mr. Canning Pensions Act
Amendment Bill ...... ........................... 88
23. Corn Importation Bill. ................................. 900
Cities and Boroughs Polls Bill ................... 4...... 903
Labourers' Wages Bill................ ...... ... .... 903
30. Ministerial Changes................. ..... ... ........ 904
Miscellaneous Estimates ................................ 907
June 2. East Retford Disfranchisement Bill-Mr. Huskisson's Statement
-Ministerial Explanations ............................ 915
3. Small Note Currency-Circulation of Scotch Small Notes in
England .......................................... 980
5. Archbishop of Canterbury's Bill........................... 1035
Improvement of Irelahd-State of the Poor ............... 1036
Smithfield Market-Petition for Removal of ................ 1049
Savings' Banks......................................... 1053
Small Note Currency-Circulation of Scotch Small Notes in
England-Adjourned Debate* .... .................. 1054
6. Saint Mary-le-bone Vestry Bill ..... ............. 1116
Bull Baiting ;; ;. ; ;s i- ; .,& a ......... .... 1121
Miscellaneous Estimates ............................... 1123
9. Relations with Portugal ................... .... ....... 1201

The Speeches, in the course of this debate, of Mr. Ward and sir Henry Parnell,
which ought to have immediately followed the Speech of sir J. Wrotlegley, and pre-
eded that of Mr. Secretary Peel, but which were accidentally omiued, %gill be found
in the Addenda.






TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Page
June 9. Sugar. Duties ........................................ 1206
10. Corporate Funds...................................... 1297
Pensions on the Civil List ....................... ...... 1303
12. Removal of Smithfield Market .......................... 1317
Roman Catholic Claims ....................... ....... 1318
13. Removal of Smithfield Market .......................... 1354
Army Estimates .......................... ........... 1356
Game Bill ............................ ...... ..... 1364
16. Archbishop of Canterbury's Bill ....................... 1371
East India Trade-Equalization of the Duties on Sugar ...... 1373
Bank Notes (Scotland and Ireland) Bill.................... 1380
17. Stamp Tax in India................................... 1397
British Shipping Interest ............................... 1416
19. Usury Laws Amendment Bill ......................... 1437
20. Army Estimates ................................. 1450
New South Wales Bill ............................... 1456
23. Recovery of Small Debts Bill........................... 1475
Misapplication of the Public Money ..................... 1476
24. Emigration .......................................... 1501
26. Commission on the Law of Real Property Mr. Humphreys 1524
Banking System-Currency .......................... 1526
27. East Retford Disfranchisement Bill ...................... 1530
30. Affairs of Portugal ................................... 1545
Additional Churches Bill.............................. 1556
July: 1. Case of the Baron de Bode-Commissioners of French Claims 1563
Supply of Water to the Metropolis ....................... 1588
July 3. Union with Ireland-Conduct of the Roman Catholics of Ire-
land .................. .... .................. 1605
4. Ordnance Estimates .................................. 1615
7 Ordnance Estimates ................................. 1627
8. Superannuation Allowances Bill........................ 1640
Corporate Funds Bill ................................. 1643
10. Military and Naval Pensions-Dead Weight................ 1645
Savings Banks Bill .................................... 1646
SCorporate Funds Bill ......... ....................... 1647
11. The Budget......................................... 1652
14. Superannuation Allowances Bill ................... .... 1682
15. South African Natives................................ 1693
... Prerogative Court of Canterbury--Conduct of Sir John Nicholl 1694
..British Merchants Claims on Spain ...................... 1697
S National Debt Bill ....... ........................... 1704
SCustoms Bill ............................. ........ 1742
F7.-.. Prerogative Court of Canterbury-Conduct of Sir John Nicholl 1749
Corporation of Leicester............................... 1762
Education in Ireland-Charitable Foundations .............. 1767
18. American Tariffs ..................................... 1768
Corporate Funds .................... .............. 1776
25. Slavery in the West Indies,,.......... .. ..... 1779






TABLE OF CONTENTS.


III. KING'S SPEECHES.
Page
July 28. KING's SPEECH at the Close of the Session. ............. 1781


IV. PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS.

FINANCE ACCOUNTS for the Year ending the 5th of January
1827 ........................................ Appx. 1


V. PROTESTS.

Apr. 24. PROTEST against the introduction of the words "on the true
faith of a Christian," in the Declaration contained
in the Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill ...... 49
May 1. - against the Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill .. 229
June 16. against the Corn Bill .......................... 1366
July 16. - concerning Greece and Portugal .................. 1741


VI. LISTS.

Apr. 21. LIST of the Majority and Minority, on Mr. M. A. Taylor's
Motion respecting Delays in the Court of Chancery.. 109
28. of the Minority, in the House of Commons, on the Corn
Bill ........................................ 229
29. of the Majority and Minority, in the House of Lords,
on the Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill ...... 236
May 1. of the Minority, on Mr. D. W. Harvey's Motion, respect-
ing the Recovery of Penalties under the Customs and
Excise Laws .................................. 278
12. of the Majority and Minority, on Sir Francis Burdett's
Motion for a Committee on the State of the Laws
affecting the Roman Catholics .................. 676
13. of the Minority on the Provision for the Family of Mr.
Canning .................................... 716
20. of the Minority on Mr. Hume's Motion for a Return of
the Pensions on the Civil List ................... 840
June 5i, of the Minority, in the House of Commons, on the
Circulation of Scotch Small Notes in England,,,... 1099
10. of the Majority and Minority, in the House of Lords, on
the State of the Laws affecting the Roman Catholics. 1294











Parliamentary Debates


During the SECOND SESSION of the EIGHTH PARLIAMENT
of the United Kingdom of GREAT BRITAIN and IRELAND,
appointed to meet at Westminster the 29th of January,
1828, in the Ninth Year of the Reign of His Majesty
King GEORGE THE FOURTH.


HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Tuesday, April 22, 1828.
COUNTY PALATINE OF CHESTER.]
Mr. Wilbraham said :--I fear that it
may be deemed presumptuous, in a person
so little conversant in the details and
intricacies of the law as I am, to introduce
to this House a subject which mainly
concerns its practical administration. To
this imputation I am willing to submit in
the performance of a great and imperious
duty. I am aware, too, that it may be
objected that I did not bring forward this
subject at the moment the most opportune
for its reception ; at that time when, in
consequence of the motion of the hon. and
learned member for Winchelsea, the whole
state of the law was thrown open to the
discussion of this House. Sir, I am free
to confess that I was deterred from this
line in consequence of the character of
that discussion. I was unwilling to in-
trust my feeble powers upon so vast a
plain, especially as the ground was occu-
pied, with one exception, exclusively by
gentlemen of the learned profession.
But I have since considered, that the
subject which was then before the House,
was one, not of partial interest, but of
universal concern; and I have thought
that it might not misbecome us, whom I
may call the suitors, and, perhaps, the
sufferers, if we were to state the nature of
our grievances, to point out the source
and character of our disorders, though we
might leave it to the skill and sagacity of
those learned persons to afford us, if they
could, a -remedy appropriate for their cor-
rection.
VOL. XIX. {S(,.}


It is with this view, and in this charac-
ter, that I present myself to the House, in
order to call its attention to one of those
anomalies which forms an exception to the
general excellence of our judicial adminis-
tration. If in directing the notice of the
House to the subject of the palatine court
of the county of Chester, I do not compre-
hend in my motion the courts of great
sessions of Wales, it is not that I am
ignorant of the close connexion of these
establishments; but, besides that the
administration of the law is essentially
different in some particulars between them,
there are, I know, many gentlemen in this
House, representing the interests of the
principality, who are better able, than I
can pretend to be, to state the inconveni-
ences that arise, or, if such there be, the
advantages which result from their peculiar
form ofjudicature. It is sufficient for me
to confine myself to the courts of that
county to which I belong.
It has ever been my pride, as an
Englishman, to look up to the institutions
of my country with that reverence to which
they are generally entitled. Whatever I
may at times have thought of the executive
government, yet I have been always taught
to speak of the administration of justice
in our courts of common law in terms of
the highest praise. If this perfection is,
in a great measure, to be attributed to
that noble institution, that glory of the
English law, the trial by jury, some part
of its beauty, at least, is due to the cha-
racter of the judicial body, to their
separation into a distinct order of men,
nominated, indeed, by the Crown, but not
subject to its continued control and influ,
B





3 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
ence. The independence of the judges
was one of the best and earliest fruits of
our glorious Revolution. It was further
guaranteed to us by his late majesty, who,
in the first'speech which he ever addressed
to his parliament, was pleased to declare,
that He looked upon the independence
and uprightness of the judges, as essential
to the impartial administration of justice;
as one of the best securities for the lives
and liberties of his subjects; and as most
conducive to the honour of the Crown."
This declaration was followed, as we know,
by an enactment which redounded as
much to the honour, as it did to the popu-
larity, of the new monarch.
Now, Sir, great as my satisfaction has
always been, thus to be able to speak of
the courts of law of England in general,
how infinite must my regret have been,
when I have found myself obliged to
declare that that part of the country to
which I belong is deprived, in great mea-
sure, of these advantages; deprived of
them, forsooth, for no other reason than
because some seven or eight centuries ago,
William the Conqueror thought fit, in the
general division of the country, according
to the feudal system which he introduced,
to allot one portion of it under the name
of a county palatine, to one of his princi-
pal followers, and, I believe, a relative. I
am not going to impugn the policy of that
great man; as little am I inclined to ques-
tion the wisdom of that act (36 Henry 8th),
which created the courts of great sessions
in Wales, and which regulated the palatine
court of Chester in its present form ; but I
wish to appeal to this House, and, through
it, to the common sense of the age, to ask,
-why one of the wealthiest counties in
England, yielding to none in the richness
of its soil, and inferior to few in the mag-
nitude of its commercial concerns, where,
consequently, subjects of the highest im-
portance must be annually brought into
litigation, should still continue to be
deprived of those advantages which inha-
bitants of the other counties of England
regard as the best security for their liber-
ties, their properties, and their lives ? It
is not my intention to go into any con-
siderable detail as to the inconveniences
which arise from the peculiar form of the
Chester courts. Neither my habits, nor
my acquirements, befit me for such an
undertaking. But, lest I might seem to
have taken up this subject upon a super-
ficial view of its bearings, I will mention


County Palatine of Chester. 4
two or three of those disadvantages which
must strike the most common observer.
In the first place, by the constitution of
this court, the two judges are obliged to
preside at the same time upon a trial. In
other assize courts, I understand, that
while one of the judges is occupied by the
criminal trials, the other is pursuing the
business at Nisi Prius. With us, on the
contrary, the criminal calendar must be
first disposed of, before the civil causes
can commence. This arrangement might
have been very satisfactory in former times,
before Cheshire was a great commercial
county, and when the assizes were usually
finished in two or three days, but is ex-
ceedingly ill-adapted to the present mag-
nitude and. exigency of its affairs. It is
only known to practitioners and to those
who are in the habit of attending these
assizes, with what inconvenience it is
attended :-first, to the judges, who are
obliged to pass ten days in doing that
which might be as effectually performed in
five ;-secondly, to the counsel, the most
eminent of whom do not usually attend in
the criminal court, and are therefore five
or six days without employment, no small
discouragement to their attendance at all ;
-thirdly, to the jurors, and particularly
to the special jurymen, who never can
know precisely when a civil case is to
begin; and last, though not least in im-
portance, to the suitors and their witnesses.
All this delay is, of course, attended with
a heavy additional expense. This evil is
accompanied by another of a serious
nature, but it is one which I must touch
upon with some delicacy. There is, un-
doubtedly, a very respectable body of
gentlemen who usually attend the Chester
circuit; but, in consequence of the arbi-
trary mode of fixing the time of holding
these assizes, in which it has been sus-
pected that private convenience sometimes
supersedes the public good, it has fre-
quently happened that we have been
deprived of that large body of intelligent
and experienced counsel, without whose
assistance no one would undertake a
cause of great importance.
The mode of moving for a new trial in
this court is another objection-a process
which, in all other cases, takes place before
the judges in Westminster-hall. But had
I occasion to move for a new trial in the
local jurisdiction, I mean in those cases
where the record goes not proceed from
the courts at Westminster-and this is nq






5 County Palatine of Chester.
inconsiderable part of the whole-to
whom will the House think that it is neces-
sary for me to apply ? Why, to the very
same judges by whose misdirection, per-
haps, or by whose ignorance of the law,
the verdict against which I complain has
just been given. I say nothing of our
exchequer and equity court; for though
its power and jurisdiction are very ex-
tensive, yet, as it is almost fallen into
disuse, I cannot complain of that as a
practical grievance. One topic more only
will I touch upon. This is the mode of
levying fines and suffering recoveries,-a
process which, in Cheshire, can take place
only twice in the year. Thus, if I succeed
to an estate -tail in the month of September,
I must wait till the following April before
the entail can be barred-a delay which
must often be attended with the greatest
disadvantage to the parties. I mention
this with the more confidence from the
county magistrates having made strong
representations on the subject, and having
made them in vain. This is one of the
evils, among others, which the Welsh Ju-
dicature bill abolished a few years ago;
but let it be remembered that this bill was
not extended to the county of Chester. So
that we remain an insulated, proscribed
body, excluded from the benefits of the
English jurisdiction, and not allowed even
to participate in the improved practice of
our Welsh neighbours.
But I will not pursue this part of the
subject further, for the reasons I have al-
ready given. I, however, pledge myself
to substantiate by evidence in detail the
truth of these general allegations, and to
prove the disadvantages under which we
labour. But even were I to omit this, I
say that my case would scarcely be
weakened; for I maintain that it is in-
cumbent upon those who are interested
in the continuance of these courts (and,
undoubtedly, there will be found some
who, from ancient prejudices, and from
attachment to privileges, and to old cus-
toms, however bad, or from attachments
of some other sort, will desire their per-
manence); I say it will depend upon them
to show their absolute superiority, and the
public advantages which are derived from
them, in order to compensate for the ori-
ginal constitutional defect in their form-
ation.
It may be asked, and reasonably asked,
how it has happened, that if these evils
are as great as I iLpTit.iL them to be, pe-


APRIL 22, 1828. 6
titions have not been laid upon your table,
and that no gentleman connected with the
county has brought the subject forward
for the consideration of parliament ? To
the first of these questions I will reply,
that the great body of the people, though
really interested in perfecting these courts,
know little beyond the sphere of their own
county-town ; and, therefore, have no
standard whereby to draw a comparison.
But the subject has frequently been brought
before this House in conjunction with the
Welsh courts, and as frequently discoun-
tenanced by the ministry of the day, and
all alterations, as referring to the Chester
court, entirely rejected. But, Sir, the
principal reason why gentlemen connected
with the county have always been upwil-
ling to introduce this subject to the
House has been this: they have feared
lest they might seem to be making an at-
tack upon the individual judges, and thus
be the means of bringing an existing tri-
bunal into contempt.
I can appreciate this delicacy. I know
that it has lately deterred the magistrates
and others from presenting petitions. How
far a similar feeling ought to influence the
conduct of a member of this House, it is
not for me to determine. I wish, how-
ever, distinctly to declare that I have go
charge to make against the character,
honour, and integrity, of the two learned
persons who, at present, occupy the bench
at Chester. It is not to them personally, it
is to the system that I object. It is to the
mode of their appointment, for it cannot
be denied that the principle of their ap-
pointment is very different from that which
regulates the choice of the other judges of
the land. Let me give the instance of
the gentleman who is now one of the
judges of the court of Chester; and, at
the same time, a practising barrister on
the Oxford circuit. Now, it may happen
that this gentleman, in his capacity of
counsel, may be consulted upon a case,
without reference to names or places. It
may, too, happen that this very same case
may be brought for his adjudication at
Chester. In what manner would it be-
come him to act in such a situation ? Could
he retire from the bench, and thus, as far
as it depended upon him, deny justice to
the subject? Or would he be justified in
adopting the other alternative, in proceed-
ing with a cause, for his opinion uppn
which he had already received a pecuniary
fee? Let not gentlemen suppose, that
B 2






7 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
this is a case of such rare occurrence, as
may be supposed ; for besides many cases
of a similar sort, of which I have heard in
the Welsh courts, I will undertake to
prove that, within a few years, such an oc-
currence did actually take place in the
court of Chester. I do not say this in the
tone of accusation. On the contrary, I
know that the learned person who then
presided in the court of Chester, did be-
have with that delicacy and propriety
which might have been expected from him
in the awkward situation in which he was
placed. I do not even blame him. I
only mention this fact to prove the total
incompatibility of the functions of judge
and advocate, and to show that the better
is the advocate, inasmuch as he is more
likely to have extensive practice, the more
certain he is to be an inefficient and im-
proper judge. Now, so anxious is the
English practice to prevent all intermix-
ture, between the branches of the profes-
sion, so desirous to obliterate every impres-
sion which might be handed over from the
advocate to the judge, that when a barris-
ter is appointed to the dignity of a judge,
it is the universal custom that he should
abstain, for some years at least, from going
upon the same circuit where he had prac-
tised at the bar. Could there be any cir-
cumstance more likely to bring disrepute
and contempt upon a court than the one
which I have mentioned ? I do not mean
to say, that it is one which takes place so
often as to be a serious impediment in the
march and administration of the law-I
make no such assertion. But why should
we be subject to the possibility of its re-
currence ? or rather, why should we be
contented with an inferior tribunal, when
the constitution points out the very highest
as our birth-right and inheritance ?
Sir, I object to them, moreover, as poli-
tical judges. Neither do I here mean to
assert, that their party feelings and their
political connexions are such as to warp
their conduct and their decisions in the
ordinary fulfilment of their duties. I
know that, for some years, the circum-
stances and complexion of the times have
not lent themselves to such a suspicion.-
But it is notorious that these judges are
usually appointed to serve ministerial ob-
jects; and let gentlemen call to mind the
legal history of this country during those
unhappy times, when political judges pre-
sided in our courts of law, and let them
then be surprised if they can, that we


County Palatine of Chester. 8
should take every means in our power to
ward off a recurrence of similar disasters.
What has happened oncenmay take place
again. Let me beg hon. gentlemen
to look at the abominations which were
committed under the name and with the
sanction of the law, in the reigns of the
two last princes of the house of Stuart,
when the judges were entirely dependent
upon the court, and looked for future pro-
motion in their profession only by a servile
compliance with the wishes of their em-
ployers, and let them then blame us, if they
can, if we look with an eye of the most scru-
tinizing jealousy into the character and
composition of our courts, which ought
not only to be above every contamination,
but, like Cesar's wife, above all possible
suspicion.
Sir William Garrow, while a member of
this House, and his majesty's Attorney-
general, was nominated chief justice of the
court of Chester; thus uniting in his own
person a portion of the legislative and the
administrative powers, besides being coun-
sellor to, and himself part of, the execu-
tive. Every writer who has treated the
theory of the English constitution has de-
nounced this conjunction of offices as to-
tally repugnant to its first principles.
Blackstone asserts that in the distinct and
independent situation of our judges, con-
sists one main preservative of the public
liberty, which cannot subsist long in any
state, unless the administration of justice
be in some degree separated, both from
the legislative, and also from the execu-
tive power. Montesquieu, no mean judge
of the springs by which the movements of
great governments are regulated, expressly
asserts, that where there is such an union
of the three powers in one man, or in a
body of men, there is an end of all liberty.
I well remember that this subject was
brought before *this House by the late sir
Samuel Romilly, not as a substantive mo-
tion, but incidentally upon moving for the
writ. No proceedings were had in conse-
quence, and no defence of it was made by
the minister of that day. There might
have been good reasons for that nomina-
tion. I am forced to presume that there
were good reasons for the silent acqui-
escence of this House ; but this I do remem-
ber, that that nomination was considered
by all impartial men as a most unconstitu-
tional one, and, under those circumstances,
as an insult to the county of Chester. Do
not let me be supposed as here contending






9 County Palatine of Chester.
against that proper and natural influence
which every government acquires by the
nomination of its own officers. Whatever
theorists may advance, I am of opinion,
that no government ever did exist without
such influence, and I am further convinced,
that no government could long subsist
without it. It is one great source of sta-
bility. But it does not the less behove
that body which is more immediately con-
nected with the people to watch over this
influence, to see that it be not perverted
to the purposes of bad government, but,
above all, to ward off its approach from
all contact and collision with our judicial
establishments. It is this which is the
distinguishing beauty of our admirable sys-
tem of administering justice; it is this
which constitutes our superiority over every
other country in the world; it is this, too,
which unfortunately marks the inferiority
of the tribunals of that county whose in-
terests I am endeavouring to advocate.
It is no answer to what I have advanced
to quote the names of many illustrious
lawyers who have presided as judges in
the court of Chester. I know, too, that
some of the brightest ornaments of our
country, and the great luminaries of the
law, such as Coke and Bacon, were mem-
bers of bad and unconstitutional tribunals :
I am aware that lord Kenyon, sir Vicary
Gibbs, lord Lyndhurst, and other great
judges, did begin their judicial career upon
the bench at Chester; I acknowledge
their high qualities; I am sure I do not
wish to detract from them; but, before
gentlemen use this as an argument in fa-
vour of the present system, they ought
also to add the length of time that we have
had the benefit of their services. Sir Vicary
Gibbs remained but one year, and lord
Lyndhurst a single session in that office;
for, as the chief-justiceship of Chester is
looked upon but as the stepping-stone to
higher employment, and, as it were, a
training-ground foryoungjudges, no sooner
is their high merit discovered, and they
begin to be acquainted with our peculiar
practice, than they are immediately trans-
planted to more advantageous situations,
and their places supplied by new aspirants.
It will be said that I am endeavouring
to make a great innovation upon an old
and established system, which time has
hallowed, and which long practice has en-
deared to the people. Sir, I am the last
man who would willingly disturb any of
those ancient institutions, in which even


APRTL 22, 1828. 10
the prejudices of the people are involved
-in which they saw, or fancied they saw,
any greater security to themselves, and to
their property, than in the realization of
any more perfect theory. But, out of the
precincts of the court, I defy any body to
show fuch a feeling in the county of Ches-
ter. On the contrary, all those who have
paid a little more attention to this subject
than their fellows, look with something
like contempt upon their own courts, and
with envy upon those of the surrounding
counties.
But, let it be called an innovation. I
recoil not from the word, for I say our le-
gal history teems with such innovations.
We have numberless instances of courts
which were extremely well adapted to the
purposes of their original formation, but
which have afterwards become useless,
their practices obsolete, and themselves
consequently abolished. Among others,
I will name the Star Chamber, a court se-
cond only to parliament itself in authority,
which was, as we know, abolished by 16
Charles 1st, for the abuse of its power.
The Court of President and Council of the
North, that court in which the famous
lord Strafford first developed those arbi-
trary principles which afterwards sub-
jected him to so harsh and irregular,
though so well-merited a fate, was put an
end to by the same statute. The Court
of Wards and Liveries was abolished by
stat. 12 Car. 2nd. The Court of the
President and Council of Wales, and the
Marches, restrained by stat. 16 Car. 1st,
was finally abolished by 1 William and
Mary, and the counties palatine of Hex-
ham and Pembroke were extinguished by
27 Henry 8th, and 17 Eliz. Now, Sir,
it is not for me to recommend in what
manner this reform, to which my motion
evidently points, shall be carried into exe-
cution, whether by throwing the county of
Chester into one of the English circuits,
or by creating a new circuit altogether, in.
conjunction with the twelve Welsh coun-
ties. Still less do I presume to say, whether
two or more judges should be added to
the present number, whether they should
be placed in the court of King's-bench, in
the Common Pleas, or in the Exchequer
court. I know too little of the practice of
those courts to hazard such a suggestion;
but lest I may be supposed to have pro-
ceeded without sufficient grounds, and lest
the goodness of my cause should suffer
from the weakness of its advocate, I must








beg leave to appeal to an authority which and to tread in the steps of my hon. and
cannot be esteemed a very light one in this learned friend the member for Winchelsea ;
House. I appeal, Sir, to the authority of in every other instance at a distance im-
your immediate predecessor in that chair, measurably great, but, if in no other, yet
Mr. Abbot, the present lord Colchester, in this approaching him, by an earnest
who, in a work he published above thirty endeavour to divest myself of every politi-
years ago, upon the jurisdiction and prac- cal or party feeling in pursuance of this
tice of the courts of Wales and Chester, our common object, a minute though no
has made some remarks so strongly bear- unimportant portion of that great scheme
ing upon the subject which I have intro- of judicial reform which his comprehen-
duced to the House, that I cannot with sive mind alone could embrace, and which
justice to my cause, and to those who are his splendid eloquence alone could illas-
interested in its success, refrain from ask- trate. For though I do not pretend to be
ing permission to read a few short extracts more exempt from those feelings than any
from it. other member of this House, yet when
Upon examination of the whole ques-- the greater interests of my country are at
tion, in all its parts, if it should finally ap- stake, when it is required to bring equal
pear that the arguments for abolishing the justice home to the door of every Erglish-
Welsh judicature ought to prevail, it will man, (and it would be difficult to produce
then be satisfactory to find that such a mea- an instance more pregnant with that ne-
sure would be warranted by general princi- cessity than the one which I have had the
ples, and analogous precedents, each of the honour to introduce to the House) I would
highest authority.-In principle, this al- scorn to let any inferior feelings irtermix
teration would fully satisfy the standard themselves with so great an object, my
proposed by lord Hale, in his Discourse only purpose being to render some little
upontheAmendmentofthe Laws,'by which service to a county to whose interests I
he requires,-' 1st. That the change be profess a particular attachment.-I move,
demonstrable to beforthe better, and such Sir, That instructions be given to the
as cannot introduce any considerable in- Commissioners of Inquiry into the defects
convenience: 2. That the change be not of the laws occasioned by time or other-
in foundations or principles, but in such wise, that they direct their early attention
things as may consist with the general to the administration of justice in the
frame of the government or law.' The county Palatine of Chester."
consequences of such a measure to the Mr. Leycester seconded the mbtion, and
public interests of the kingdom are next said that the subject was one which
to be considered. And although it might called for the attention of the legislature.
require an increase in the number of Eng- Mr. Secretary Peel said, that the hbn.
lish judges to discharge the increase of seconder did not seem to be aware of the
circuit duty instead of those judges whom precise object to which it referred; and
it would supersede, yet this very conse- he might say the same of the hon. mover.
quence might be economically benefi- He wished to remind him, that no cdm-
cial, as far as that consideration ought mission had issued under the Great Seal
to weigh; and it might also be rendered for an inquiry into the administration of
of the highest importance, and of the justice in the county Palatine of Chester.
greatest advantage, to the general ad- He would suggest, that the question ought
ministration of justice. Nor can any to come under the cognisance of the com-
valid objection arise from the mere change mission for Inquiry into the origin and
in the number of judges, as that has been progress of the superior courts of Law.
extremely variable at different periods of Though the motion referred to Welsh
time. Economically, there would be an courts, he had no objection to their being
advantage to the public, if two additional included among the superior courts of law
English judges were appointed in lieu of in this county. Under these circumstances,
the present establishment of eight inferior he hoped the hon. gentleman would con-
judges for Wales." sider that a sufficient answer was given to
And now, Sir, before I submit my mo- I his motion.
tion to the House, I have but one word Mr. Davenport supported the motion,
more to add to a statement which, I fear,' and said that the hon. member had done
has been already too long. In doing this, himself great credit by the hianner in which
I shall endeavour to imitate the example, he had brought it forward.


I I HOUSE OF COMMONS,


County Palatine ofC Cheater.






13 Anatomical Sience-Subjects for Dissection. APRIL 22, 1828.


Mr. Wilbraham said, that after the ex-
planation given by the right hon. Secre-
tary he felt perfectly satisfied, and would,
with the permission of the House, with-
draw the motion.
The motion was accordingly withdrawn.

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES' BILL.] Mr.
Brougham said, he rose to present a peti-
tion which was deserving of the serious
consideration of the House. It was signed
by the chairman and secretary of the de-
legates from the various Friendly Societies
in Manchester and its neighbourhood, and
prayed that the bill which was in progress
might not pass into a law. He entirely
concurred in the views of the petitioners.
The retrospective clause in it was ex-
tremely objectionable. It was to this
effect,-that if any society already en-
rolled should wish to make any alterations
in their rules, they must make them under
the provisions of this act, and be deemed
a society within the meaning of the act.
He was morally and legally certain, that
if it passed into a law, it would be produc-
tive of endless litigation.
Mr. Hobhouse said, he understood that
the retrospective clause in the bill was pro-
posed to be withdrawn; but there were
other clauses highly objectionable, and the
public opinion was decidedly against the
measure. He objected to the clause for
referring all calculations to Mr. Finlayson.
Many people were by no means satisfied
with the correctness of that gentleman's
tables. At ;the suggestion of the Chan-
cellor of the Exchequer, it had been agreed
to withdraw the clause as to the qualifica-
tion of trustees; but if so much of the
bill was given up, it would certainly be
policy to give it up entirely. The bill was
very obnoxious to the persons who were
immediately concerned in it, and the
country had a deep interest in giving no
check to the disposition of the lower
orders to form themselves into benefit so-
cieties. The sum already invested in these
societies throughout the kingdom amounted
to no less than seven millions; and a
heavy addition to the poor-rates would be
among the earliest evils arising from any
dissolution of them.
Mr. Courtenay had no objection, as far
as his personal wishes were concerned, to
withdraw the bill; but part of the matter
complained of was already law, under the
bill of 1819; and unless the present mea-
sure were carried forward, there was no


course by which the difficulties existing
under that bill could be remedied.
Mr. P. Thompson said, that the publi-
cans were interested in opposing the bill,
which easily accounted for the number of
petitions presented against it.
Mr. Brougham said, he did not object
to legislation upon the subject, but he ob-
jected to this particular measure, because
he knew it was obnoxious to the very per-
sons whom it was intended to serve. The
bill had a bad name among the lower or-
ders; and he therefore thought that it
would be better to withdraw it.
Ordered to lie on the table.

ANATOMICAL SCIENCE-SUBJECTS FOR
DISSECTION.] Mr. Warburton said, he
should trespass but for a very few moments
on their patience in explaining the object
of his motion. That object was simply
the propagation of Anatomical Science, by
facilitating a regular supply of Subjects for
Dissection in our Schools of Surgery. Al-
though our students in surgery were nu-
merous, amounting perhaps in London, to
six hundred or seven hundred, without in-
cluding the country, if it were not for the
difficulty experienced in providing subjects
on which the professors might lecture, this
number would be considerably increased;
for it was ascertained that there were not
less than two hundred English students in
Paris, and about three hundred in Dublin,
besides some in the Dutch, Flemish, and
German schools of anatomy, whose only
reason for retiring from their own country
originated in the cheapness and facility
with which they were supplied with sub-
jects for dissection contrasted with the
difficulty and expense which they expe-
rienced in prosecuting those studies at
home. Taking the supply for these stu-
dents at the rate of two subjects for each,
the number of subjects required annually
could not much exceed two thousand, if
our schools were as full of students as we
had a right to expect. How far this sup-
ply was aided by legal provision, might
be conjectured from the fact, that there
was no provision made by law for surren-
dering tp to the College of Surgeons any
bodies of malefactors, except murderers,
who were found in London and Middlesex
not to exceed five on an average in seven
years. It was not his intentionto trespass
on the province of the medical gentle-
men whose interests were more particu-
larly at issue, by detailing the outline of





15 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
the remedy which they believed they had
it in their power to suggest to the House,
to remove the difficulty existing in pro-
curing a supply of subjects. He would
nevertheless state a circumstance which
proved that the growth of information tend-
ed to remove the repugnance to dissection
which formed one of the most formida-
ble obstacles in the path of science. A
professor of celebrity, who had lectured
on the osteology, before an assemblage of
one thousand two hundred mechanics,
proposed to continue his course of lec-
tures on the human frame still further;
these persons, although not accustomed to
such an exhibition, expressed a wish to
hear the lecturer treat of the softer parts
of the body, and accordingly a disinterred
subject was introduced, the face being con-
cealed, and other precautions taken to ren-
der it less offensive; and, singular as it
might appear, with the exception of two
or three weak stomachs, all witnessed the
dissection without either disgust or loath-
ing: and the body was at that moment
reduced to a skeleton, the property of the
institution. 'The hon. member concluded
by moving, That a select committee be
appointed to inquire into the manner of
obtaining subjects for the Schools of Ana-
tomy, and the state of the law affecting
persons employed in obtaining or dissect-
ing bodies."
Mr. John Smith seconded the motion.
The facility of supplying subjects for dis-
section would, he said, advance the in-
terests of science. There were no set of
men in the country to whom society was
more indebted than to the surgeons and
physicians. Numbers of young men were
obliged to leave this and resort to foreign
countries in search of the knowledge of
their profession. If a supply of subjects
could be had at home, in all probability
none of these students would go abroad.
Mr. Secretary Peel acknowledged that
if ever he entertained a doubt as to the
propriety of making some legislative pro-
vision on this head, it arose altogether from
delicacy and a consciousness of the diffi-
culty of combating successfully with old
and confirmed prejudices. At the same
time he would admit, it was not a light
matter that so many eminent men should
feel it necessary to appeal to that House,
and state that they felt great difficulty in
prosecuting their useful and humane in-
quiries, in consequence of the obstacles
arising out of the present state of the law


Corn Laws. 16
in this respect. He would be the last
man to oppose those gentlemen in their
wish to be heard before a committee of that
House, if they could suggest a mode to
procure a supply of the dead, without
offending the feelings of the living. For
the enlightened views, the pure philan-
thropy, and the liberal feelings of medical
men generally, he felt so much respect,
that he did not hesitate to pronounce them
a blessing to their native land, and an
honour to humanity; yet he would sug-
gest the necessity of great caution in
bringing forward a measure which seemed
to conflict with the prejudices of mankind,
generally, and to wage war with those feel-
ings of respect for the departed which ex-
tended beyond the grave. One of the
worst possible topics to introduce into his
speech was the calculation made by the
hon. member, that two thousand dead
bodies would be requisite yearly for the
supply of the students of the metropolis.
The only point, too, in which that hon.
member's anecdote respecting the victory
obtained over prejudice in the Mechanics'
Institute failed, was, not that a few weak
stomachs grew qualmish, but that none of
those eager disciples of information had,
in order to show their disdain of vulgar
prejudices, justified the eulogium the hon.
member had pronounced on them by offer-
ing their own bodies to be dissected; for
this vulgar prejudice was not against
seeing bodies dissected, but against being
ourselves dissected. The attempt to sup-
ply the advantages derived from dissec-
tion by the substitution of wax models
had been very properly denominated merely
mangling the living instead of the dead.
It had been suggested, that in orderto in-
crease the supply, the bodies of all per-
sons dying under sentence for felony
should be given up for dissection. To
this it was objected, that the practice
would diminish the horror felt for a mur-
derer's doom. The hon. member should
take particular care, in framing his remedy,
that its effect should not be to raise the
price of a subject, which was not impos-
sible. In the present state of the public
feeling, he should not oppose the appoint-
ment of a committee.
The motion was agreed to, and a com-
mittee appointed.

CoRN LAws.] On the motion, that the
House should resolve itself into a com-
mittee on the Corn Laws Acts,






17 Corn Laws.
Mr. Portman regretted to say, that he
saw little reason to congratulate the agri-
culturists on the prospects held out to
them of protection from the competition
of foreign corn in the supply of the Bri-
tish market. The proposed regulations
of this were less favourable than those of
the preceding year, for this reason-that
they did not afford positive protection.
He took, as a point conceded on all hands,
that 60s. per quarter of wheat was the
point at which protection ought to begin
to be extended to the agriculturist. The
price of corn was liable to perpetual fluc-
tuation, in consequence of the quantities
of that article which might be brought
into the country for purposes of trade, and
the facilities afforded by that principle of
hostility to all prohibition, which was
adopted into our policy, and which ap-
peared to be growing stronger and stronger
every day, in all branches of commerce.
It was obvious that all the corn imported
for the purposes of trade, above what was
required for the use of the country, must
reduce the price of that commodity.
When by this means it was reduced to the
foreign level, it became exceedingly diffi-
cult to raise it up to that amount which
was necessary to remunerate the agricul-
turist. In fact, it could only find its pro-
per level by a progressive adjustment of
the supply to the demand; which, in the
case of corn, was all but impossible. He
would next state, what amount of protec-
tion he thought was required to meet the
peculiar circumstances of the growers in
this country. He agreed with those who
maintained that every fair concession
should be made to the consumers, and that
if possible the legislature should not med-
dle with the subject above 60s. It would
appear, from reference to the last seven
years, that the average price was from
53s. to 54s. Under the present system,
he wished that a point should be taken be-
low 60s., at which some certain duty should
take place. The plan which he would be de-
sirous to see adopted, was that of which the
foundation was laid by the resolution of the
House last year. The present ministers
were most of them parties to that measure ;
and he hoped that the discussion which
the subject had undergone elsewhere did
not wholly disincline them from taking
the average at 58s. The returns before
the House would show that corn could be
imported lower than they had taken it ac-
cording to the present scale of duty. If


APRIL 22, 1828. 18
the resolutions now proposed were those
by which ministers were determined to
abide, he hoped the House would support
him in a proposition for postponing the
subject altogether to that day six months ;
as he conceived that a bill founded upon
those resolutions would be most injurious
to the landed interests.
Mr. Byng said, that whatever satisfac-
tion the right hon. gentleman might sup-
pose to exist with regard to his measure,
the agriculturists would have been still
more satisfied with the measure of last
year. They required more protection
when the averages were from 52s. to 58s.
than when they were from 62s. to 64s.
In fact they wanted no protection from
62s. to 64s., and, on the whole, were
much more satisfied with the bill of last
year than with this.
Mr. Beaumont said, he could not agree
with the hon. gentleman in preferring the
measure of last year to that which was
now before the House. But, willing as
he was to support the present bill, he
could not approve of taking the protection
at a lower ratio than that proposed last
year. They had additional experience to
guide them, and that experience would
show that foreign wheat could be brought
into this country at a lower price than
they had assumed, and had endeavoured
to support by their averages. He knew
for certain that foreign wheat could be
brought into this country as low as 24s.
the quarter. If 30s. were added to that
it would not amount to a prohibition. The
whole amount would then be 54s., includ-
ing duty, which was lower than 58s., the
lowest average contemplated in the scale
of duties.
Mr. C. Grant said, that the hon. gen-
tleman who had opened the debate had
expressed an opinion that 58s. was an in-
adequate protection, and that those who
supported the measure of last year could
have no objection to take 58s., or some
point below 60s., as one at which a certain
duty should attach. But the hon. gentle-
man, when he alluded to the measure of
last year, was bound to take the whole,
and not an insulated part; and, if he did
so, he would find that in the same bill it
was also taken above 60s. He would
allow that there was great difficulty in
ascertaining the price, or the exact
amount, of the foreign corn which came
to market. That commodity was liable,
like all others, to fluctuations from various






19 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
caused : the seasons, the means of trans-
port, had their effect; but, above all, the
state in which the corn trade had been
placed during the last thirty years operated
to produce and to aggravate fluctuations
to an extent which bade defiance to calcu-
lation. There was the gigantic scale both
of price and of protection which existed
during the war, and then came the act of
1815 subsequent to the war, and tending,
perhaps, more than any other cause, to
confound calculation, and to keep prices
in a perpetual state of uncertainty. But
though he admitted that they could not
come to an exact opinion as to the price
or quantity of the article, they were not
without means of arriving at averages upon
which it was competent for therh to legis-
late. TIe real question was, whether the
scale now proposed was such as to afford
sufficient protection to the agriculturist.
Thh best way to determine this question
was, to look at the prices as they appeared
in the papers on the table. The hon.
gentleman had quoted the authority of
Mr. Canning for stating that 30s. would
operate as a prohibition; but the fact was,
that if, as in the present bill, they had a
varying duty, they could not say at any
point that there existed an actual prohibi-
tion. Besides, the argument did not apply
exclusively to the present measure, but
was equally applicable to that of last year.
He held in his hand an account of the
average price of the foreign corn imported
during the last seven yeats, and he thought
the House would agree that that justified
the scale which ministers had taken. On
referring to the importations from Dantzic
in 1827, he found that the price at Dantzic
was 22s. 5d. The charges of conveyance
were stated at 10s., which made 32s. 5d.
independently of duty. Then taking the
duty at 30s., the importation price would
be 62s. 5d. Ah lion. gentleman had said;
that wheat was introduced into this coun-
try last year, at 24s. He believed the
hon. gentleman alluded to an importation
into the port of Hull. But he should like
to know what the quality of the article
was, and whether it remained in warehouse
for exportation, or was let into the general
market of the country. But whether or
not, a few extreme cases could not be
admitted to bear upon the general argu-
ment. With respect to Hamburgh, the
average price of last year was 28s. 2d.
The 30s. duty would make it 58s., inde-
pendently of the charge for carriage. In


Corn Laws. 20
Holland the price was still deirer; and
looking to Petersburgh, he found that the
price for the same year was 25&. ld., and
the charges for transport were 11s., which,
added to the duty, amounted to nearly
70s. Upon the whole of the averages of
the last seven years, it wotild be seer, that
the protection adopted by government was
a reasonable, moderate, and just one.
Mr. Secretary Huskisson said, that the
proper time for entering upon the discus-
sion of the Resolutions would be in the
committee, when the merit of the several
parts of the measure might be discussed.
This was far more convenient than to an-
ticipate the discussion by an irregular
debate. One gentleman said, he woild
not support the measure in the committee
if such a duty was proposed another
gentleman objected to another branch of
the measure. But, instead of putting
these suppositious cases, the far better
way would be to hear what wais proposed,
and then to entertain thd discussion upon
it.
Mr. Calcraft observed, that the right
hon. gentleman had stated, that the pre-
sent was not the regular parliamentary
stage in which the discussion could be
taken. In that opinion he must differ
from the right hon. gentleman. It was in
the recollection of the House, that a plan
had been proposed last year, by one whose
loss they all deplored; and it was but fair
and reasonable that they should compare it
with the provisions of the present. He did
not put the question on any narrow ground
of preference, nor mean to argue it as a prb-
tection to the agricultural interest, for it
involved the interest, of the whole commu-
nity. He would agree that the landed
interest ought to have protection, but not
merely for their own sake. The principle
upon which it should be afforded was the
good of all. It was necessary that they
should be protected, because, with all the
pots open, it was impossible to say how
great a supply might be received froi
those vast tracts of country which only
wanted encouragement to poiir in their
produce to the detriment of our own agri-
culturists. The bill of last year had the
feelings of the country in its favour. It
fixed the pivot price at 60s. but the pre-
sent bill, departing from that precedent,
had fixed it at a lower rate, and upon a
principle less calculated to operate as a
certain protection. In 1815, we were told
that the average price of corn for several






21 Corn Laws.
previous years had varied from 78s. to 80s.
He had foreseen the injurious tendency of
the bill which was then introduced into
parliament, and then had opposed it to
the utmost of his ability. We were told,
in 1822, that in consequence of the peace,
and the consequent reduction of taxation,
and certain other causes, 70s. was the
proper average price; and we were next
told, in 1827, that 60s. was the proper
average price. Now, if we took into our
consideration the price of corn during the
last year, we should find that the proper
average price was somewhat lower than
60s. Why, then, should we jump at
once, and without any express reason, to
an average price above 60s.? To that
part of the present resolution he must ob-
ject. With respect to what had fallen
from the member for Dorsetshire, he fully
agreed with him in thinking that these
resolutions gave us no protection where
we were most vulnerable, and incumbered
us with an insupportable weight of armour
where we wanted no protection. From
50s. to 58s., we were worse off than we
were before; and that was exactly the
point at which the people at large did not
feel any inconvenience. We thus had
corn let in when the people did not want
it; but when it rose above that price,
and its dearness began to inconvenience
them, we threw every possible obstacle
in the way of its importation. For his
own part, he did not pretend to under-
stand the policy of this measure; but he
knew well enough the manner in which it
had originated. He was sorry to oppose
any measure of the duke of Wellington's
administration, and if he now opposed
it, it was because he found it necessary
to support his own consistency on this
important question. It was only natural
for the duke of Wellington to say that
64s. was the proper average price, for he
had said so last year; and though it
might be convenient for those who
held seats in the cabinet, to compromise
their former opinions, in order to retain
them. Why should he, who had no seat
in the cabinet, imitate their example?
That might be-he would not say that
it was-one of the reasons which had
led them to agree, that 64s. should be
fixed upon as the proper average
price. There was also another reason
why that sum had been fixed upon, which
pleased him as little as that to which he
had just alluded. Ministers had said,


APRIL 2f, 1828. 22
that the present was the most likely ar-
rangement to get the new Corh bill passed
in the other House of Parliament. He
was sorry to say that he heard a great deal
too much of this compromising language.
It was only the other day that he was told,
in a committee up stairs, that there was a
certain noble lord in the other House who
insisted on having a certain clause inserted
in a bill which was then under examina-
tion; and the House was now told, that
unless they shaped their Corn bill in such
and such a manner, they would not have
the slightest chance of getting it through
the other House. He should be sorry if
they did not get it through the House of
Lords; but sorry though he might be, he
should prefer acting on his own sense df
right to entering into a truckling com-
promise of principle with the other branch
of the legislature. It would, indeed, be
matter of regret, if, when the Commons
of England were seeking to obtain a
cheap supply of food for the people, the
other House of Parliament would not ac-
cede to that which appeared to them to
be only right and equitable. He was op-
posed to these resolutions on two points;
the first was, that they strengthened the
agricultural interest where it wanted no
additional strength; and the second, that
they left it open to injury in the very
quarter in which it was most exposed. The
right hon. gentleman had told them, that
nobody could object to the Speaker's leav-
ing the chair on the present occasion, ex-
cept those who were anxious that the
Corn-laws should remain as they were.
He was not one of those who wished the
Corn-laws to remain in their present state.
A more wicked and detestable systemhad
never been devised; and he thanked Pro-
vidence that we had escaped so well as
we had done from the mischief which it
was calculated to produce-a state of pro-
hibition at one time amounting to a famine
price, and then a permission for corn to
come into the country in unlimited quan-
tities, and to interfere with our agriculture,
let the promise of the next harvest be as
plentiful as it might If there was any
part of his political life which gave him
particular pleasure in the retrospect, it
was his steady opposition to the Corn-laws.
He was not sanguine enough to suppose
that the House would follow him in sup-
porting, during the present session, the
measure which it conceived right and ex-
pedient in the last, or he would take the






23 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


sense of the House on the change which ing responsible situations, might make
existed between the propositions of the last concessions to their colleagues on points
and of the present year-not with a view of national importance; but those reasons
of preventing the question from coming were no grounds for that House, nor for
to an adjustment, nor of embarrassing the individual members bound by no ties, ex-
government, but to substitute for the pre- cept those of conscience and equity, to
sent resolutions, those which ministers had alter the vote to which they had delibe-
deemed so advisable last session, and which rately come in the last session. He had
they gave no reason for not adopting in the heard much in the course of the session,
present. In this situation he would leave not only of the expediency of gentlemen
the question for the present, hoping that yielding up their opinions to their col-
the House would support the view of it leagues, but also of the House yielding up
which he had just taken, and not being its deliberate vote to the other House of
quite certain whether he might not, in the Parliament. The argument might be very
course of the discussion, take their opinion convenient for official personages, but
once more upon the resolutions which the ought to have no weight with a British
House had carried by so large a majority, House of Commons. The House of Corn-
when they were proposed by the late Mr. mons ought to send every measure up to
Canning. the House of Lords in the shape which it
Mr. Robinson said, he had heard with deemed most advantageous to the public:
unmixed satisfaction the manly speech of it was for the House of Lords to suggest
his hon. friend. As he himself entertained any amendments which it deemed expedi-
similar sentiments, he had been induced ent upon such measure; and then it was
to give notice, that he would afford the for the House of Commons to decide whe-
House an opportunity of dividing upon the their they would deviate from the line on
resolutions proposed by Mr. Canning last which they had first proceeded, in order
year. He hoped that his hon. friend, who to pass a particular measure, rather than
was so much more competent to the task, no measure at all, upon any particular
would take it up himself, and bring it for- subject. That, he apprehended, was the
ward with his usual ability. He should constitutional course for the House of
feel great gratification in transferring to Commons to adopt, and that was the
his hon. friend's shoulders the task which course which he himself would rigidly ad-
he had intended to impose upon himself. here to. Without entering into the de-
Mr. Calcraft said, he felt flattered by tail of the points in which the resolutions
the transfer of this duty to him, and ac- of this year differ from those of the last, he
cepted the trust, would hazard one or two remarks on the
Mr. Stanley concurred entirely with the principle upon which the bill professed to
hon. member for Wareham, that there be founded. There were many gentlemen
was very great convenience in taking a who were of opinion that it would be more
discussion on this subject on the question for the interest of the agriculturist that
that the Speaker do leave the chair. It there should be one price fixed under
afforded an admirable opportunity of ob- which foreign corn might always be im-
taining the opinions of different parts of ported-that the agriculturist should take
the country, as expressed by their repre- the advantage of good and bad times, like
sentatives, on the different plans which dealers in every other kind of produce-
might be suggested. It appeared to him and that he should only be subject to the
that this was the object with which, before inconvenience of the home-market, leaving
the recess, three different sets of resolu- that to be corrected by the foreign market,
tions had been offered to the House; and as occasion might require. But if he was
the present was the first opportunity of not entirely mistaken in the view which he
which the House could avail itself, to ex- had taken of this subject, the great point
amine and discuss them, and to see how was, to secure the corn market from all ex-
far each interest could concede on each cessive fluctuations; and that was the very
point to the other. He had not as yet point in which the present bill was noto-
learned why the House of Commons was, riously and palpably deficient. He was
in the present session, to recede from the sorry to use such a word, for he had a
path which it had chalked out for itself in great respect for the right hon. gentleman
the last. There might be reasons of po- who had framed this bill, but he must, ne-
licy and expediency why gentlemen, hold- vertheless, designate it by the title of a


Corn Laws.






25 Corn Laws.
disingenuous bill. He must say, that
when it was held out to the agricultural
interest as a premium on the bill which
had been proposed last year, it was the
most palpable fallacy that was ever at-
tempted to be palmed upon a House of
Commons. True it was, that at a certain
price it afforded greater protection to the
agricultural interest; but it was exactly at
that price to which corn had never arrived
in the last year, and to which he did not
expect that it would ever arrive again. He
was desirous that corn should be had at a
low rate; but he was still more desirous
that it should be had at a fixed and defi-
nite rate, and that it should not be ex-
posed to those rapid fluctuations which
were equally ruinous to the consumer and
the producer. Up to 58s. there was less
protection for the agricultural interest under
the bill of this year, than there was under
that of the last; and so far it was favour-
able to those who stickled for low prices.
The great fault, however, of the present
bill was, that we had prohibition when we
did not want it, and protection when we
needed it least; for it gave protection
under high, and withdrew it under low,
prices. The bill of last year proceeded
upon a straight-forward, consistent, and
intelligible, principle : the bill of this year
proceeded on no other than an ad cap-
tandum principle, seeking to conciliate one
side by the offer of low, and the other by
the offer of high, prices, and making them
both liable to the danger of fluctuating
prices. On these principles, he should
support the motion which the hon. mem-
ber for Wareham intended to submit, at
some future opportunity, to the House. If
brought forward as an amendment to the
present bill, he should certainly support
the resolutions which Mr. Canning had
proposed in the last session, and which
were then carried by acclamation-at least
by an overwhelming majority. The sense
of the House of Commons was expressed
most decidedly in favour of Mr. Canning's
bill. He had as yet seen no just ground
for departing from it. It was founded on
a clear and intelligible principle, on which,
though it might not be satisfactory to all
.parties, all parties could at least meet
without collision. There were not, how-
ever, any two parties who could meet on
this bill, and say, that there was a price
settled in it, in the propriety of which
they both concurred. The hon. member
for Dorsetshire had expressed his desire to


APRIL 22, 1828. 26
support the bill of last year, as far as it
extended to the low scale of prices. He
(Mr. Stanley) hoped that the agricultural
interest would agree with the view which
he and his friends had taken of this part
of the question, and would consent to ad-
mit both the ascending and descending
scale of duties fixed by Mr. Canning.
Sir E. Knatchbull said, he had heard
with astonishment the assertion that
the bill of last year was carried by
acclamation. Did gentlemen recollect,
that the hon. member for Dorset-
shire proposed last year an amendment
similar to the present resolutions and
that it was supported by no less than
170 members? He contended, that, had
it not been for the monstrous coalition
which had then taken place, the majority
would have been the other way. He
would ask gentlemen to recollect what
had been the effect of it out of doors.
For his own part, he had not met with
any person connected with the agricultural
interest who approved of it. He believed
ministers were fully justified in making
the addition which they had done to the
scale of duties. What had been the
avowed object of Mr. Canning? To make
the price of corn oscillate in future, be-
tween 55s. and 60s. Now, the price of
corn during the last year had been only
54s.; and it was the knowledge of that
fact that induced him to give his support
to the additional duties proposed.
Mr. Fergusson trusted, that the hon.
member for Dorsetshire would not press
his amendment to a division. He did not
see how any member could object to the
Speaker's leaving the Chair, unless he
was satisfied with the present state of the
Corn-laws. When the bill of last year
was under discussion, he had voted in
favour of the proposition made by the hon.
member for Dorsetshire for fixing the
price at 64s. He must confess that if the
resolutions now on the table were adopted
in toto, he should reluctantly give them
his support: but he would give his
support to discussing them in the com-
mittee, if the price were fixed at 62s.
There was the same duty, by the bill of
this year at 66s., as there had been by the
bill of last year at 62s. That being the
case, he was willing to adopt the resolu-
tions which fixed the price at the same
point as that at which the hon. mem-
ber for Dorsetshire had fixed it by his
amendment of last session; but he should






P7 HOUSE QF COMMONS,
object to them when that part came under
consideration which took away protection
when it was most wanted, and inflicted
prohibition when it was altogether unne-
cessary.
Mr. Secretary Peel said: I simply
object to this discussion, because I cannot
see what object it can answer. If there
were a general feeling in favour of an
adOerence 1o the present law, I could
understand why arguments should be in-
troducecd aaiiist the proposal that the
Speaker should leave the Chair; but when
I hear the hon. member for War>harn
talk o' the existing Corn-laws as the most
pernicious code that ever had existence-
an' when I find him resting his claim to
pu14ic confidence on his almost unsup-
portld opposition to it, I cannot discover
ihe principle on which he and others
object to go into a committee, by which
that most pernicious code is to be amen-
de4. Every hon. member who has spoken
has expressed his general o0obLUair L. Ce in
the principle of the new law. In the name
of God, then, why are we not to go into
tie committee, that we may consider the
details? The hon. members for Worcester
and Warebam have given notice of their
jqint amendment; and that amendment
cannot be moved but in the committee.
At least, we have three distinct sets of
resolutions before us; but the hon. mem-
ler fr Preston has given, as a reason for
not approaching the subject, that the
resolutions of the present session are not
the same as those of last year. This mode
oF argument seems to me strange indeed
in a deliberative body. After the interval
of a year-after the experience of what
has passed in that year-and after the
additional information we have obtained,
is it to be said that this House is bound by
some fanciful sense of honour and con-
sit-incy to adhere to its previous resolu-
tions. True it is, the bill of this House
did not pass elsewhere. It is a delicate
subject to allude to the conduct of the
other branch of the legislature, and cer-
tainly nothing can be more unwise than
to. ask the House of Commons to assent to
what it thinks wrong, because the House
of Lords refuses to do what is right. But,
sp;akinr, not theoretically, but practically,
tlere may be limits to the strictness with
which the House will adhere to its own
decisions. If we, on our part, are bound
iyever to deviate, under any circumstances,
if9oiu' pi^4,t% decijsisos, it is a good


Corn Laws. 28
rule also for the other branch of the legi$-
lature. Qn matters touching the privileges
of the House, it may be very right not to
give way, but the feelinrws and interests of
the country on general qulstioris may
require the adoption of a middle course.
If both branches are determined not to
yield; there can be no accommodation-
no approximation; and while we aldre
to the price of 60s., the Lords will per-
servere in the 4,arhojusr.ing clause, and
years may elapse before a permanent
settlement is effected. As to the opinion
of the country on the resolutions of nmy
right hon. friend, though I believe thebq
was a more general concurrence in tle
measure of last year, than, under all the
circumstances, could have been expected.
I am satisfied that this measure is at least
as palatable. Ctrtliiilv. when it is said
that the project of last year passed by
acclamation, it never can be forgottep that
the proposition for adopting the price of
64s. was supported by 168 members, who,
in point of consistency, are niow procuderl
from taking any other course than giving
the present proposition their cordial appro-
bation.
Lord Althorp said, that this preliminary
discussion had not been useless, as it
clearly showed that the bill of last year
was preferable to the present. The scale
of the former was, to affix high duties
when the price of corn was low; but the
present varied entirely from that principle;
for when the price was low the duty was
to be reduced, and to be raised when it
was high. When the price was low, then,
where was the protection?
The House having resolved itself into
the committee,
Mr. G. Heathcote said, that though he
wished to state some objections to the
scale of duty, yet, at that late hour, he
would content himself with moving, "That
the Chairman should report progress, and
ask leave to sit again." The lower part of
the scale should be amended, and the
upper was not necessary. The agricul-
turists were suffering severely, and some
effective protection should be given them.
Mr. Huskisson thought, that after the
discussion which had taken place, and the
three weeks notice already given, the bulk
of the committee were prepared to discuss
the question, though the hon. member
might not be in a similar condij~tin. Sp
serious a subject ought the r fore to be pro-
ceeded upon Aivbout, (qrhe; 1pj9- o ipt ,






29 Corn Laws.
Mr. Hobhouse said, that as yet the
House was ignorant of the cause of the
change from the bill of last year. IHe
agreed with the hon. member for Ware-
ham, that it was their duty to ascertain
why this change had taken place in the
opinions of his majesty's ministers. He
had listened to the President of the Board
of Trade, with attention, but that right
hon. gentleman had stated no reasons for
the change. So far from doing so, it was
manifest, that, as far as his feelings could
be collected from what he had said, he was
almost ashamed to bring forward the mea-
sure.
Mr. Calcraft said, he was ready to go
into the discussion, even though the hour
was so late : at the same time, he must
regret the way in which they had spent
three or four hours of the earlier part of
the evening. He thought it was incumb-
ent upon the government to explain why
they had departed from the resolutions of
last year. For his own part, he was quite
ready to confess, that it did not follow,
because at one time one thing was done,
that it ought to be repeated at another:
still, an explanation was due, and ought
not to be withheld. For the purpose of
bringing the two scales of duty into full
consideration, he would introduce, in the
shape of an amendment to the present
resolutions, the rates fixed in the proceed-
ing of last year. The hon. member then
moved as an amendment the adoption of
Mr. Canning's scale of resolutions of the
last year.
Mr. Robinson seconded the amendment.
Mr. Benett said, he was placed in rather
a difficult situation. While he preferred
the bill of last year to the present awkward
measure, which conferred protection where
it was not wanted, and gave no protection
where it was required, he was of opinion
that the bill of last session stood in need
of some amendment, and it was his inten-
tion to propose an amendment of it. If
it was understood, that he should be at
liberty hereafter to propose the amend-
ment of which he had spoken, he should,
in that case, support the proposition of the
hon. member for Wareham. It wasasserted,
that this was a measure which would prove
palatable to all interests in the empire.
The truth was, that the measure was not
as yet understood in the country. So
much confusion had arisen by the mixing
up of the measure of last year with the
measure of this year, that no pe~sg~ had


APRIL 22, 1828. 30
as yet been able to understand the propo-
sition of ministers. If a little more time
was given, perhaps it might become intel-
ligible. From 52s. to 64s. there was no
difference; but after 64s. the ascending
scale of duty was higher in the present
measure than in that proposed last session.
The bill of last year was far preferable, as
a protection to the agricultural interests,
to the present measure.
Sir G. Philips inquired what were the
grounds upon which the right hon. gentle-
man opposite adopted the present measure,
in preference to that which he had sup-
ported and recommended in the last ses-
sion ?
Mr. Secretary Huskisson said, his ma-
jesty's ministers had been placed in rather
a difficult dilemma on this occasion. No
sooner had the House formed itself into a
committee, than up got an hon. member,
who moved that they should report pro-
gress, and ask leave to sit again. That
certainly was not the way to discuss this
measure. The hon. member for Wareham,
following that consistent and open course
which he usually adopted, had already
moved an amendment upon the resolutions
proposed to the House. The hon. member
for Wiltshire had stated his intention to
propose an amendment upon the resolu-
tions of last year. Under these circum-
stances, he had been desirous to hear the
various objections which gentlemen had to
urge to the resolutions before the committee,
before he stated his reasons for supporting
them. However, as he had been thus
called upon, he was perfectly ready, at
this stage of the debate, to address the
committee. Before he did so, he should
advert to one observation which had fallen
from the hon. member for Wareham. That
hon. member had stated that, by the
present measure, the pivot in the scale of
duty had been changed from 60s. to 64s.;
and this he objected to as a great change
from the measure of last year. Now, he
would maintain that the pivot had not been
changed at all. If he understood what
was meant by the pivot, it was that point
in the scale at which on one side the duty
ascended, and on the other descended-it
was the level where the ascending and
descending duties met. The pivot in the
bill of last year was fixed at 60s. the Win-
chester, and at 62s. the Imperial, measure.
In the present resolutions, the same level
was taken, and at 62s. the Imperial, and
at 60s. the Winchester measure, the scale






31 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
ascended on the one side, and descended
on the other. The difference between the
two measures arose not as to the pivot
fixed upon as affording a sufficient pro-
tection to British agriculture, by the impo-
sition of a certain duty when the price of
corn ascended above that point, and di-
minishing the duty when the price of
corn fell below it: the point which had
been agreed to last year by parliament
as affording a sufficient protection to
British agriculture, was still preserved ;
but the question now was, whether
the scale which had been last year
adapted to that point afforded a suffi-
cient protection. In the statement made
by his lamented friend last year, he wish-
ed to give an efficient protection to the
British corn-grower up to 60s. the Win-
chester, and 62s. the Imperial, measure.
With that view, his lamented friend pre-
pared a scale of duties, which remained
stationary between 60s. and 64s. the Win-
chester measure, and 62s. and 66s. the
Imperial measure, and which were increased
or diminished as the price of corn rose or
fell above this standard. The scale then
proposed was considered adequate for the
purpose. The question now before the
House was, not to change the price at which
that scale had been fixed, but whether the
protection thereby afforded was a sufficient
protection to the British corn-grower. In
deciding that question, they should look at
what had happened since the bill of last
year. They would find that a quantity of
corn, amounting to five hundred thousand
quarters, had been admitted into the
market. Without adverting even to the
circumstances under which this corn had
been admitted, when they found that such
a quantity as five hundred thousand
quarters had been admitted in one month,
it must appear evident that the scale of
duties proposed in the bill of last year did
not afford a sufficient protection to the
agricultural interest: in fact, that protec-
tion which was contemplated by the bill of
Mr. Canning on the last occasion when his
lamented friend addressed the House upon
this subject. On that occasion, when
introducing the temporary bill, after the
intended permanent measure had been
thrown out in the other House of parlia-
ment, he distinctly stated, that it was a
measure to be tried by the test of experi-
ence, and that in the next session they
would be enabled to judge, from the
working of it, whether it was calculated


Corn Laws. 32
to afford the desired protection to the
agricultural interest. To the duties im-
posed by that bill, he would apply the
test of experience; and if he found that
the importation of foreign corn was not
sufficiently checked by them, he was at
liberty to support a measure which went
to alter that scale of duties. He acted
upon the suggestion of his right hon. and
lamented friend, and taking the test of ex-
perience as his guide, he felt himself bound
to support an amendment of the bill of last
session. The principle of lord Liverpool
and that which was laid down by his right
hon. friend last session was, that up to 60s.
there should be a sufficient protection to
the British corn-grower-that between
60s. and 64s. Winchester measure, foreign
corn ought to be admitted. The princi-
ple, then, with regard to the scale of duties,
was 'o to arrange it that a sufficient check
should be imposed upon the importation of
foreign corn, until the price of corn rose to
60s. Winchester measure; that between
60s. and 65s. its importation should be
allowed, but subject to such a check as
would prevent it from coming in such
quantities as materially to affect the
market: and when the price rose to 65s.,
the object of the plan was to impose duties
sufficient to prevent foreign corn from
being imported in large and overwhelm-
ing quantities. Now, on referring to what
occurred last year, they would find that
five hundred thousand quarters of foreign
wheat were in warehouse when the bill of
last session passed. In consequence of an
early and an abundant harvest, the price
of corn fell; and this so affected the
bonders of foreign corn, that they were
anxious to pay the duty then, lest they
should have a still higher duty to pay.
Accordingly, the quantity of foreign corn
which he had already mentioned was taken
out of bond; and it was evident that,
under the bill of last session, a similar
influx of foreign corn might occur, so as
to oppress the British corn-grower. The
first object, then, of the government was
to remedy that defect in the bill of last
year, and to afford a sufficient protection
when the price of corn was from 60s. to
65s. That object, they conceived, would
be effected by adding 4s. to the duty pro-
posed last year, when the price of corn
should be at 62s. Other corresponding
changes had been made in the ascending
and descending scale of duties, which ap-
peared to them calculated to remedy the





33 Corn Laws.
defects of the bill of last year. The hon.
member for Wareham seemed to think
that the duties did not afford sufficient pro-
tection when the price of corn was low, but
he was surprised that the hon. member for
Preston should characterize the conduct of
government on this question as disingenu-
ous. The hon. member had advanced the
charge upon the ground that the proposed
resolutions did not afford protection where
it was wanted, but where it was not want-
ed; namely, when the prices of corn were
high. The duties when corn was between
58s. and 59s. were as high as was intended
in the last bill. When corn was 58s. and
up to 59s. the intended duty would amount
to 28s. 8d. Did the hon. member imagine
that foreign corn would be imported under
that duty when corn was at 58s.? He
should be glad to know from what part of
the world it would come. Notwithstanding
the circumstances which, during the last
year, tended to encourage the importation
of foreign corn, yet when the price was at
58s., the duty, under the bill of, last ses-
sion, prevented, though it did not altoge-
ther exclude, the importation of foreign
corn. Notwithstanding the fall in the
price of corn, and the alarm thus created
in the minds of the holders of foreign corn,
when the duty was at 28s. 8d., what was
the fearful quantity of foreign corn taken
out of bond ? Only two hundred and
seventy-seven quarters : when the duty
was at 30s., four hundred and twenty-six
quarters were taken out: when at 32s.,
one hundred and six quarters were taken
out; when at 34s., one hundred and one
quarters; when at 36s., fifty-three quarters;
at 38s., sixty-one quarters: and when the
duty was at 40s., four quarters were taken
out in one week, fifty-two in another,
twenty in another, and two in another;
altogether about one thousand quarters
were taken out during an entire quarter
of a year. A great portion of these drib-
blings was ordered to be sold out by the
foreign merchants even at a loss, as it
would not pay for the rent of the ware-
houses. It was plain, then, that the duty
of 28s. 8d., when corn was from 58s. to
59s., amounted nearly to a prohibition duty.
Last autumn, indeed, when the holders of
foreign corn became alarmed by the fall in
price, about five hundred thousand quar-
ters were taken. Government had, there-
fore, made out, from the experience of last
year-from the reports which had been
received from foreign countries, and from
VOL, XIX.


APRIL 22, 1828. 34
the evidence taken before the House of
Lords-that, by the imposition of a duty
of 28s. 8d. when corn was at 58s., there
was no risk of any quantity of foreign corn
being imported into this country.-It
should be recollected that the importer of
foreign corn would, in addition to that
duty, have to defray the price for which
the corn was bought, the price of freight
and warehousing, andvarious other charges,
before he could reckon upon any profit.
The freest and most open corn market on
the continent was that of Rotterdam. It
received the corn of Germany by canal na-
vigation, and that of the north of Europe
by steam navigation. Now it has been
ascertained, from a comparison of the
prices of corn there during the last seven
years, that 28s. 8d. duty, when corn here
was at 58s., would afford an adequate pro-
tection to the British corn-grower. He
had applied the test of experience to the
two scales, that of last year and the pre-
sent one, and he preferred that which was
now proposed. The scale under the pre-
sent bill was calculated to afford a better
protection to the agriculturist. Though
he, as well as others, had agreed to the
measure of last year, he could not think it
safe to continue it, as it had not proved
adequate to the intended object. He re-
peated, that he supported the present bill
because it would afford a more efficient
protection. When the price of corn was
from 60s. to65s., under the proposed duty,
the importation of foreign corn would be
checked : when the price was above 65s.
the corn from our colonies would come in
free ; and when the prices were higher, the
duties would operate to prevent the im-
portation of an overwhelming quantity of
foreign corn.-The hon. gentleman oppo-
site had spoken in favour of a fixed duty.
Abstractedly, that might look well enough;
but when they regarded the circumstances
of the country and the wants of the people,
they would see the impossibility of adopt-
ing such a principle. If a high permanent
duty were imposed, then, in periods of
scarcity, the poor would be exposed to
miseries, the infliction of which no claims
for protection on the part of the home
corn-grower could ever justify. For the
advantages,then, which the grower foregoes
when corn is high, by the admission of
foreign grain, he receives compensationby
the imposition of a high rate of duties when
corn is at a low price. He receives in fact
only that remuneration t9 which he is
0 .!





35 HOUSE OV COMMONS,
justly entitled. When legislating upon
this subject they were bound to look to the
different and varying circumstances of the
country, and to the wants and necessities
of its inhabitants. A permanent fixed
duty was therefore out of the question.
The principle of the present bill was the
same as that of the bill of last year; and
it afforded a more effectual protection to
the British corn-grower. That principle
had been laid down by Mr. Canning last
year : it was contained in the memoran-
dum of lord Liverpool; and he could
support it from documents in his posses-
sion. In the year 1804, a duty of 24s. 3d.
was imposed, when corn rose to 63s. Win-
chester measure. That was, then, to the
grower as effectual a protection, up to that
price; as the present duty would be. For
these and various other reasons, he would
support the resolutions before the com-
mittee.
Mr. Stanley said, he had yet to learn
the reasons which had induced the right
hen. gentleman to prefer the present bill
to that of last session. He was certainly
inclined to the opinion of those who ab-
stractedly supported a fixed permanent
duty. But feeling that it was impracticable
to carry such a measure, he felt that the
next best plan would be to adopt such a
scale of duties as would keep the price of
corn as low as possible, at the same time
giving to the agriculturist a fair profit. Still
adhering to that principle, he conceived
the scale of last year to be much better
than that now proposed. It was said that
this measure would bring high prices to
the agriculturists and procure cheap corn
for the poor; neither of which objects it
was likely to effect. As compared with
the bill of last year, the proposition now
made gave little or no protection to the
agriculturist, while it was so framed as
not to confer any benefit, by a reduction
of price, on the poor. He wished to have
it distinctly ascertained what the object
of the bill was; for he believed that, up
to this moment, the intention of ministers
with reference to the measure was not un-
derstood.
Mr. IHuskisson said, the object and prin-
ciple of the present measure were precisely
the same as the object and principle of
that of last year. The bill of last year
afforded protection up to 60s.: a greater
degree of protection from 60s. to 64s. was
given by the present proposition. The ob-
ect was to give protection up to a certaitt



Corn Laws. 36
point, and to exclude the introduction of
foreign corn as much as possible.
Mr. Baring observed, that this was a
most important question, whether taken
with reference to our agricultural, mfniu-
facturing, or commercial interests: and
he was glad to find that it was this year
discussed without any mixture of party or
political feeling, which unfortunately was
not the case in the last session. Hi: could
not, he confessed, discover how the object
stated by the right hon. Secretary could
be obtained by this measure. The objec-
tion started by his noble friend in the
outset of the debate, rendered it super-
fluous for him to say much on the sub-
ject. It appeared, according to this scale,
that when prices were low, protection
would be diminished, and when prices
were high, that it would be increased.
Such a system could not be useful to the
agriculturist, and must be oppressive to
the country. In his opinion, the settle-
ment of a question of this kind did rot
depend merely on the rate of price, but
must be guided by a variety of circum-
stances; because the corn trade, .like
every other trade, might be, ard frequently
was, affected by gambling speculations.
The calculation for this country Was, that
every third or fourth year there would be
a deficient harvest. Hence speculations,
which constantly affected the price, took
place. In a year of deficiency, when
prices were high, a speculator would make
a large profit; and if, when the prices
were low, he lost twenty or twenty-five
per cent, he could afford it, because he
was sure to be repaid in a year or two:
in the same manner as smugglers saved
themselves if they were able to save one
cargo out of three. Individuals would
thus speculate in corn; and if a deficient
harvest did riot enable them to procure
high prices, they would put up with a loss
in getting rid of their cargoes, and look
forward to better success on some future
occasion. In ordinary years, therefore,
the duty which was set down in this scale
was not so much a prohibitory duty as
the right hon. Secretary seemed to sip-
pose. On the other hand, when he said
that this measure, whei corn arrived at
64s. or 65s., would encourage importa-
tion, did not every one perceive that such
importation would not be allowed until
there was an incipient scarcity-the very
thing that ought to be prevented? In
point of fact, the measure ii this respect







37 Corn Laws.
held out a seeming protection to the agri-
culturist, which no gentleman could wish
to have ; for before corn arrived at so high
a price, it would be impossible for the
people to purchase it. No person could
conceive wheat illinr. at the rate of 65s.
in this country, without knowing that a
great extremity of distress must prevail,
and that consequently to impose a duty
of 20s. on the importation of that article
was unjust. He professed that, whether
he looked to the one interest or the other,
-to the agriculturist or the manufacturer,
--he considered the bill of last year was
better for both. The measure of last
year was ah equitable adjustment between
the parties interested; but, notwithstand-
ing the explanation of the right hon. Se-
cretary, he conceived the new measure to
vary considerably from that equitable
system. It was dangerous, because it
was calculated to keep up very high prices ;
and it afforded a degree of protection
which the greediest desirer of protection
could never wish for-an extent of pro-
tection that must defeat itself.-Hethought
it was right that they should come to
some early resolution on this subject, and
therefore, in discussing it, they ought to
abstain from those general topics which
had for years been introduced, and with
which the House was familiar. It would
be better to take a dispassionate view of
the different plans presented to their no-
tice, rather than to enter into the larger
field of speculative reasoning. Much had
been said about the price of growing corn
on the continent. But, for his own part,
he thought it was useless to send persons
hunting all over Europe to ascertain this
point, when all that was necessary to be
known could be learned from persons at
their own door. And after all, the calcu-
lations made by those inquirers, who tra-
velled into the different corn countries,
were generally fallacious, and could not,
lead them to a just decision. It was said
that some great lights had been shed on
this subject by the inquiry before the
Lords. He must be excused if he doubted
the fact. The experiment of last year
was altogether inconclusive; for in that
case grain was brought in under the ex-
citation created by the Coi.-bill; and
whether at a gain or a loss, was no argu-
ment, with reference to the general ques-
tion. The present proposition he could
not help thinking was very unfortunate;
since it gave the agricuhturists no real pro-


APRIL 22, 1828. 38
section where they wanted it, and it ex-
posed them to great obloquy by giving
them the appearance of a protection which
they did not call for. le treated this
question as a question of policy; not
caring one straw how it operated on indi-
viduals. He would,. on the one side, give
that protection to the population of the
country which was most desirable, and,
on the other, he would give a just pro-
tection to the agricultural interest. He
had never said that no protection should
be granted to that body, and could easily
perceive the loss of property and fortune
that must be attendant on the withdrawal
of a fair protection. On this question of
protection, he would be quite ready to
give to the agricultural interest the full
amount, which persons most anxious for
the welfare of that interest, could desire;
even supposing them to consider no in-
terest but their own. This he would will-
ingly concede, provided the individuals
calling for protection decided on sound
and fair principles. The present propo-
sition, however, professed to do a great
deal more; but, in reality, would not
afford them a just protection.
Sir G. Philips expressed his belief, that
the explanation of the right hon. Secretary
for the Colonies, with reference to the de-
viation from Mr. Canning's bill of last
year, had not given satisfaction to any
member of the House. He contended,
that by looking at the population returns,
and comparing the number of those en-
gaged in agricultural pursuits with that of
the classes who were differently employed,
it would be found that they had sacrificed
two-thirds of the population to benefit the
landed interests. This system he con-
ceived to be most objectionable; and it
was attempted to be carried to a greater
extent than formerly by this measure.
He could not conceive, from any thing
that had fallen from the right hon. Secre-
tary, what had induced him to de-
part from the scale of duties of last year.
-The hon. baronet then entered into a
calculation to show, that when wheat was
50s. a quarter at Dantzic, which would
be about the price there when it was 65s.
here, it could not be imported, including
12s. per quarter for freight, and 21s. 8d.
duty, under 83s. 8d. per quarter, which,
he contended, was equivalent to a pro-
hibition. The bill, therefore, deluded
the people on the one hand, because it went
only to admit foreign corn when the home
C2






Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


prices were low; and it deluded the agri-
culturists on the other, because it pre-
tended to secure them high prices by pro-
tecting duties, when the imposition and
collection of such duties would, in fact, be
impossible. The consequence would be,
thatthe people would obtain no relief when
the prices where high, but corn would be
retained in the warehouses until it could
be let out at the price of 72s., and then
the country would be deluged with it.
The further the House departed from the
principle of free trade, the greater would
be the mischief they would produce to the
country. Our commerce had already suf-
fered much from the neglect of that prin-
ciple, and no one had so ably shown the
evils of a prohibitory system, as the right
hon. gentleman who now stood forward as
its advocate.
Mr. Portman said, he agreed with the
right hon. gentleman as to the duty now
proposed; for when the price was at 60s.
he found, by the returns, that the former
duty had not afforded a sufficient protec-
tion to the agriculturists. When the
price was alfove that sum, he was not pre-
pared to say that some alteration might
not be made without injury to the landed
interest.
The Committee then divided : For the
Resolutions 202 ; For the Amendment 58 ;
Majority 144.

HOUSE OF LORDS.
Thursday, April 24.
CORPORATION AND TEST ACTS REPEAL
BILL.] Lord Holland moved the order
of the day for receiving the report of the
committee on this bill.
The Earl of Eldon said, he had some
amendments to move, to which he wished
to call the attention of the House. The
first clause of the bill, as it now stood,
would go to repeal the act of Charles 2nd ;
to which he could not consent. He was
also bound to say, thathe had received some
information with regard to the second
clause of the bill. In his apprehension,
the second clause, as it was now worded,
though he was conscientiously satisfied
that it was not intended to be adopted in
the construction it would bear, was worded
in the most artful manner possible. The
second clause was stated to be, and un-
doubtedly was, introduced from those bills,
which had been brought into parliament
for the relief of the Roman Catholics,


The recital, as far as it went, was correct,
but it left out the most essential part of
the bill from which it was borrowed. The
original passages as it stood in the Act of
Union was in these words :-"Whereas, it
is reasonable and necessary, that the true
Protestant religion professed and estab-
lished by law in the Church of England,
and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
government, thereof, should be effectually
and unalterably secured." The difference
between this clause and the preamble of
the present bill was, that the former stated,
that the true Protestant religion, pro-
fessed an'd established by law in the Church
of England, and the doctrine, worship,
discipline, and government, of that Church
should be effectually and unalterably se-
cured," but the present bill left out any
provision regarding the Protestant religion;
what he proposed, therefore, was, to make
the bill avow, that the Protestant religion
as professed and established by law in
the Church of England, was as inviolably
established as the doctrine, worship, disci-
pline, and government, of that Church it-
self." Th6 Act of Union stipulated also,
that the Acts of parliament now in force
for the establishment and preservation of
the Church of England shall remain and
be in full force for ever." The Test and
Corporation acts were then in existence,
and it seemed that a very different
opinion was then held as to their neces-
sity. ,It was his intention in making
this proposition, to put upon record in
their lordships' Journals, that there were
some individuals who were desirous that
these Acts should still be preserved. He
agreed, on the one hand, that their lord-
ships should not, on account of any ap-
prehension they might have respecting the
Roman Catholic claims, refuse to give
relief to the Dissenters; but, on the other
hand, he trusted that whatever they did,
while they took care not to prejudice the
Roman Catholics, the bill would leave
that question exactly as ft was before.
The learned lord concluded by moving the
insertion of the following words: And
whereas the true Protestant religion, as
professed and established by law in the
united Church of England and Ireland,
Sand the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
governmentthereof, should be effectually
and unalterably secured; and whereas the
-true Protestant religion, as professed and
established by law in the Church of Scot-
land, with the doctrine, worship, discipline,


39 I-IOUSE OF LORDS,







41 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


and government, thereof, should be effec-
tually and unalterably secured, all the
Acts of Parliament for the establishment
and preservation of the said Churches in
force at the time of the union with Scot-
land, are hereby declared to be in full
force for ever."
The Earl of Clarendon said, he could
not but look at this amendment with some
degree of caution, as he was entitled to do,
after the learned lord had professed his
intention of opposing, and, if possible, of
Defeating, the bill. As a means of accom-
plishing his object, the learned lord pro-
posed an alteration, which in effect
amounted to this-that no statute relative
to the Roman Catholics should be altered,
but that they should remain invariably the
law of the land. If, therefore, any of the
various acts had been passed for the relief
of the Catholics, or a clause to this effect'
had been introduced into any bill, parlia-
ment would have bound itself not to pass
them. The effect of this clause would be,
therefore, greatly to prejudice the cause of
the Roman Catholics.
The Duke of Wellington was of opinion,
that if the proposition of his noble and
learned friend did not refer to the Catho-
lics, it would be of no use whatever. If
his noble friend intended also to propose
an alteration in the Declaration to the
same effect, he must oppose it. He had
stated that it was not his intention, in
giving his support to this bill, to pledge
himself to any step, either on one side or
the other, as to the Catholic question.
His opinions on that subject remained ex-
actly as they were. His object in giving
his assent to this measure was simply to
do away with the Sacramental Test as a
qualification for office. He went no fur-
ther than that. The proposed amendment
would not make the smallest alteration in
the bill for any good purpose, and there-
fore he could not agree to it.
The Earl o4 Eldon saw no reason why
the word Protestant" could not be in-
troduced, with respect to corporations in
England. All he meant was, that any
man about to be introduced into a corpo-
ration in England, should first declare
himself to be a Protestant. He knew that
the object of the present billwas neither
to prejudice nor assist the views of the
Roman Catholics: but he would saf, that
if it passed in its present shape, parliament
would have gone a great way in promoting
the views of the Catholics. His only ob-


ject in proposing this amendment was to
prevent persons of that persuasion from
gaining admission into corporations.
The Earl of Falmouth expressed his
perfect concurrence in the sentiments of
the noble and learned lord who had so
long stood up in defence of the Church.
The Sacramental Test was the only pro-
vision that excluded Roman Catholics
from corporations; and corporations, their
lordships knew, were the door to parlia.
ment.
The Earl of Harewood begged the
House to reflect on the step they were
about to take. The Dissenters had pe-
titioned for relief, and he understood that
they had united themselves with the
Roman Catholics [No, no]. It appeared
so, he thought, from the petitions on the
table. He could see no objection to the
introduction of the words proposed by his
noble and learned friend : he did not see
that they could in any way do injury to
the Dissenters, who were all Protestants.
What would the country think of the in-
tentions of parliament, if this amendment
should be rejected ?
The Bishop of Chester said, that every
person, on becoming the member of a
corporation, was obliged to subscribe the
Declaration against Transubstantiation,
and take the Oath of Supremacy. He
did not see, therefore, if this bill passed
without the learned lord's amendment,
how the Catholics would be a single step
nearer their object. With respect to him-
self, and his right rev. brethren, the only
question appeared to be, whether there
was security for the Established Church.
The Dissenters offered security which was
considered sufficient, and then their ex-
clusion became indefensible. -But it was
a different question with regard to the
Catholics, as they could give no sufficient
security. They could not be admitted to
office -without involving danger to the
Protestant Church. If they could offer
adequate security, the question of their ex-
clusion would be at an end. The decision
of this question, therefore, could not in-
volve the decision of the Roman Catholic
question.
The Duke of Newcastle entreated their
lordships not to suffer this bill to pass
without introducing the word "Protestant"
into the Declaration, as proposed by the
noble and learned earl.
The Bishop of Llandaff said, that while
the learned lord professed a wish to leave


APRIL 24, 18128. 42






Carporatiop and Test 4cts Repeal Aill. 44


the Roman Catholic question on open
ground, the object of his amendment
seemed to be to affect that question.
The Duke of Wellington said, that the
Declaration, as proposed to be amended
by the learned- earl, would affect officers
in tie army and navy, some of whom must
be in this country, and many of whom,
it was well known, were members.of the
Roman Catholic religion. Now, as the
amendment of the noble earl would have
the effect of excluding them, he must op-
pose it. He contended, that it was not
the object of the framers of this bill to in-
troduce Roman Catholics into corpora-
tions in England. In Ireland they were
already eligible.
The Lord Chancellor thought, that the
word Protestant" ought to be intro-
duced into this Beclaration, in order to
leave the Catholic question clear and un-
prejudiced, when it came on for discussion,
As he understood the law at present, it
was not necessary, in order to be admitted
a member of a corporation, to take the
Oath of Supremacy; it was only required
to do so on becoming a member of its go-
vernment, such as mayor, bailiff, common-
councilman, &c. Now, if it were not ne-
cessary to take that Oath, the consequence
of this bill would be, that there would be
no obstruction to a Roman Catholic be-
coming an individual member of any cor-
poration. What he understood from his
learned friend was, that his amendment
was only intended to refer to the Declara-
tion to be taken on becoming a member
of a corporation; and he thought the
House ought to adopt it, in order to guard
against taking any step affecting the other
question.
The Earlof Eldon said, that all they
would do, if they agreed to his amendment,
would be to exclude Roman Catholics
from corporations. Their lordships ought
riot to have this act so expressed that
persons might hereafter say that it
operated in furthering the views of the
Roman Catholics. Ie did not now ask
their lordships, although he wished them
to do so, to carry this amendment to the
other clauses of the bill.. All he now said
was-let them take care not to open the
corporations in England to the Roman
Catholics; for he repeated, that a mayor
or an alderman was not, as such, neces-
sarily a justice of the peace. As the law
now stood, the merely taking the Oaths of
Supremacy and Allegiance, without the


Declaration against Transubstantiation,
was not sufficient to render an individual
eligible to enter into a corporation, or to
take office in this country. The present
measure, however, worded as it was, did
not require that Declaration; and persons
who only took the Oaths of Supremacy and
Allegiance, omitting the Declaration against
Transubstantiation, *might be placed in
official situations. Day after day, Dis-
senters were acting in such situations,
under the sanction of acts of Indemnity.
Those acts were not, in fact, passed merely
for indemnifying persons because they had
not taken the Oaths of Supremacy and Al-
legiance, but because they had not taken
the oath relative to Transubstantiation.
Now, so sure as he existed they would not
have to pass one bill of Indemnity less
than they now were called on to pass,
with reference to admission into corpora-
tions, if they did not take care so to alter
the bill as that Roman-Catholics should
not be admitted into those bodies. No
Declaration, unless it contained such a
provision as he meant to propose, would
give that species of security, which, in his
opinion, they had a right to have embo-
died in this bill. Such was his opinion,
and to that opinion he would adhere, al-
though it might be opposed by all the
ability of the most powerful members of
that House.
The Bishop of Bath and Wells said, he
entertained so high an opinion of the au-
thority of the noble and learned lord, that
he felt called upon to vote for his amend-
ment.
Lord Holland said:-As far as I have
been able to collect, there is one point on
which we are all agreed, namely, that the
words of this bill should be such as nei-
ther to prejudice nor promote the Catholic
question-" Therefore," says the learned
Slord, adopt my amendment," Therefore,
I reply, reject that amendment. If I can
show, either that the amendment is ac-
tually unnecessary and ineffdetual, or if it
have any effect, that that effect will be to
place the Roman Catholics in a worse
situation than that which they at present
occupy, I shall have said enough to satisfy
even the learned lord, that his proposal
ought not to be adopted. He states, that
if the mayor or alderman of a borough are
also justices of the peace, they are called
upon not onlyto take the Oaths of Allegi-
ance and Supremacy, but to sign the De-
claration against Transubstantiation; but


43 HOUSE OF LORDS,






45 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


that if they are not also justices of the
peace, the latter may be and is omitted;
so that, according to the learned lord, they
sign it in their capacity of justices of the
peace, and not in their capacity of mem-
bers of a corporation. I must bow, un-
questionably, to such high legal authorities
as the learned lord, and the occupant of
the Woolsack, and, according to my opi-
nion, it is true, as far as relates to the
Corporation act; but by the other act, on
which the Sacramental Test rests, and
which enforces also the necessity of taking
the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, I
was not, until now, quite sure that a can-
didate for office was compelled to sign the
Declaration against Transubstantiation.
I know that it has been ruled both ways
in courts of law; but I was not aware that
the point was so absolutely settled with
reference, I mean, to that act, whose pre-
amble contains the words, that the bill is
passed for quieting the minds of his ma-
jesty's subjects." Then one of two things
must follow-either it does apply or it
does not: if it does, under that act Ro-
man Catholics are excluded; if it does
not, of course, they may be admitted.
The preambles to which the learned
lord has alluded, speak of the doc-
trine, discipline, and government, of the
respective Churches of England and Scot-
land; and it is asserted in them, that such
doctrine, discipline, and government, by
the laws of the realm, have been settled
and established permanently and invio-
lably. Such is the Declaration of the pre-
amble; but whether it is such a pream-
ble as ought to have been adopted, is ano-
ther question. The learned lord has
thrown out an insinuation, that the framer
of the particular clause must have felt
that some particular advantage to the
Roman Catholics might be drawn from it.
Who was the framer of the clause? Per-
haps it may not be very delicate to allude
to the point; but I understand,'that if
there be one individual above all the rest
of the world alive to the Protestant inter-
ests it is the person who framed this clause.
The learned lord, however, seemed resolved
to make a grand discovery-to find out
some defect which nobody else could see
-to have ees where other folks are blind;
and accordingly, taking the bill in hand,
he took out, and carefully wiped, his
largest magnifiers, and going minutely
over every letter, nay, over every comma,
he rejoiced, after a long and patient ex-


amination, to make out that the clause in
question must have been conceived and
brought forth with a design to favour the
Roman Catholics. All I can say is, that
if there be any thing in .the bill, which
either advances or retards the Catholic
question, I am willing to strike it out;
but when the learned lord talks of artifice,
I cannot guess what sort of tests and se-
curities he would have. Can there be a
safer course than employing an individual
to draw the clause, who was as strongly
opposed to the Catholics as. the learned
lord himself? The effect may be what
the learned lord contends; but that any
artifice was used to accomplish it, is not
very credible. The object of the learned
lord, as far as I can collect it, is, that the
whole of the preamble of the Act of Union
shall be inserted in this bill; and, recol-
lecting that he has spent so much of his
laborious life in discussions on the consti-
tution of the country in Church and State,
and in declamations to prove that theyare
about to be subverted, the words of his
amendment sound very dreadful indeed.
But the real question is, what are the sta-
tutes and acts intended by the Act of
Union ? The learned lord' tells us, that
the Test-act is one of them, and he defies
any man to say that it is not a statute for
the establishment and preservation of the
Church. He so considers it; but the
question, give me leave to say, is not
what he considers it; but what it was
considered. by the great men who were
concerned in framing and passing the
Act of Union. Did they think that
the Test-act was for the establishment
and preservation of the Church ? I have
learnt in the school of the noble lord
himself, to attach prodigious importance
to the preambles of statutes, and in the
course of this very discussion he has dis-
played his usual learning and acuteness
upon that subject. He professed himself
shocked in the extreme at the jejuneness
of the preamble as it once stood-" Where-
as, it is expedient," and objected reason-
ably enough for a lawyer, that it was so
short, clear, and direct. It gave him no
opportunity for the display of his talents;
and he therefore complained of it, as a
sportsman does of a wood, because he
could find no game in it-he found no-
thing to hunt-nothing upon which he
could exercise his ingenuity; it was a pre-
amble which presented no difficulties, and
was addressed to the common sense of


APRIL 24, 1828. 46







Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


mankind. But I will apply the learned
lord's own doctrine to the preamble of the
Test-act. First, I assert, that the title
and preamble of the bill not only do not
say, that it is.for the establishment and
preservation of the Church, but they state
something quite to the contrary; the ob-
ject of the bill is declared to be "to pre-
vent danger from popish recusants, and to
quiet the minds of his majesty's subjects."
Let me ask, too, is the learned lord so
little read in the history of those times, as
Snot to know that the individuals who pro-
moted the Union, were the very persons
most anxious to repeal the Test-act ? Is
he not aware that the Whigs of that day
wanted to get rid of the Test-act, or to do
what was equivalent-to admit Protestant
Dissenters within the pale of the Church ?
Therefore I have a right to maintain, that
these recited acts are not what the learned
lord describes them to be; namely, passed
for the establishment and preservation of
the Church. Neither in the preamble of
the Act of Union, of which he is so fond,
are they alluded to for that purpose. It
was actually moved that they should be
inserted in the Act of Union, and the mo-
tion was rejected; so that we may assert,
that the opinion of parliament was against
the opinion of the learned lord. But there
are certain statutes mentioned in the Act of
Union-two old statutes are introduced
as acts for the establishment and preser-
vation of the Church, and they are made
perpetual. 0
Lord Eldon: Those two statutes and
other acts" are mentioned.
Lord Holland. It is true the words
and other acts" are used, but those acts
are not specified; and, unless the learned
lord, as a lawyer and an historian, can
satisfy the House that those who passed
the Test-act and the Union did consider
it in'that light, his whole argument falls
to the ground, and is not worth a rush.
He founds himself upon this:-" I will
prove that the Test-act does establish and
preserve the Church." That' is the point
at issue, and the learned lord must make
it out not merely by quoting the Test-act
or the Act of Union, but by sound argu-
ment. For these reasons I submit, that
he has made out no case for the admission
of his amendment; and I have no hesita-
tion in saying, that it is clear to every
man's understanding, not legally and tech-
nically, but practically, that if you pass
this act with the amendment in this part,


of the bill, and in the Declaration- and
if no Indemnity bill be hereafter passed,
including an indemnity for not taking the
Declaration, you place the Roman Catho-
lics in a situation more disadvantageous
than that in which they now stand. I
appeal therefore to the candour of the
enemies of the Roman Catholics whether
they will, by a side-wind, and in an act of
boon and indulgence to others, impose
upon them a new and severe hardship?
I am sure that their sense of justice and
candour will prevent the infliction of this
penalty, and I sit down perfectly satisfied
that this House will not consent to change
the preamble and the Declaration in the
manner suggested by the learned lord.
The Lord Chancellor said, it did [not
appear to him that there was any thing in
the preamble of the bill, or in the bill it-
self, that called for the amendment of his
learned friend. He alluded to the intro-
duction of the preamble to the Act of
Union; and he thought it right to state
this, because he felt disposed' to concur
with his learned friend on another point;
namely, the introduction df the word
" Protestant." The present question re-
lated solely to the 'Corporation act; and
the matter to be considered was, whether it
would not be necessary, at a future period,
as his learned friend intended, to move
that the word Protestant" should be in-
serted in the provisions of this bill; and
whether, if that were not done, Roman
Catholics might not be placed in the go-
vernment of corporations in this kingdom.
By the Corporation act, persons who were
admitted to have a share in the govern-
ment of corporations were obliged to take
the Oath of Supremacy and the Sacra-
mental Test. Now, if they abrogated the
Sacramental Test, all that such persons
would have to take was the Oath of Su-
premacy. If, then, noble lords were
of opinion, that the Oath of Supremacy
was not alone sufficient, it followed, as
a consequence, if they did not agree to
the amendment at a future period, that
Roman Catholics, if they took the Oath
of Supremacy, might take situations in
corporate bodies. The question was, whe-
ther the Oath of Supremacy tone was or
was not a sufficient defence against the
admission of Roman Catholics into cor-
porations ? His learned friend had, over
and over again, stated, that it was not
a sufficient defence. If that position were
correct, then he would say, that, so far


47 HOUSE OF LORDS,







49 Government Annuities.
as related to applications for admission
into corporations, it might be necessary to
insert the word "Protestant," to guard
against the possibility of the event to
which he had referred.
Their lordships then divided upon the
earl of Eldon's amendment; Contents 31;
Not-Contents 71; Majority against the
amendment 40. After a short conversa-
tion, the"further consideration of the re-
port was postponed till to-morrow.

PROTEST.] The following Protest against
the introduction of the words "on the
true faith of a Christian" in the Decla-
ration, was entered on the Journals.
Dissentient.
1. Because-The introduction of the
words upon the true faith of a Christian'
implies an opinion in which I cannot con-
scientiously concur, namely, that a parti-
cular faith in matters of religion is neces-
sary to the proper discharge of duties
purely political or temporal.
2. Because-It appears from two acts,
the one passed in the 10th year of George
1st. cap. 4, and the other in the 15th
year of George 2nd. cap. 7, that the words
'upon the faith of a Christian' occurring
in the Oath of Abjuration have been dis-
pensed with in cases which were found
not to be within the spirit and scope of
the original law-and it seems to me
inexpedient to introduce unnecessarily into
a Declaration of this nature a form of
words which experience has shewn may
produce effects not contemplated by those
who imposed it.
(Signed) "VASSALL HOLLAND."

HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Thursday, April 24.
GOVERNMENT ANNUITIEs-Loss TO
THE PUBLIC THEREON.] Mr. Alder-
man Waithman said, he rose to pre-
sent a petition from Mr. Moses Wing, of
Market-street, Southwark, and of Middle-
row, Bloomsbury, relative to the great
losses sustained by the public in the Life
Annuities sold by government. The hon.
alderman, after expressing his surprise
at having heard it stated elsewhere, that
no communications had been received
by government, pointing out the losses
on those annuities, save those of Mr.
Finlayson, observed, that that gentleman
had predicted the loss, and said he would
prove it by his own tables, which tables,


APRIL 24, 1828. 50
though they had been promised eight
years ago, were not yet ready. He did
not know where the blame rested, but
it was certain that Mr. Finlayson received
5001. a year to enable him to make out
those tables, and that great loss had
accrued to the public by not having
them prepared. It would be seen from
the statement of the petitioner, that he
also had made a communication to go-
vernment on this subject, so early as May,
1819. At that period he addressed a
letter to the then Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, stating that the tables by which
the government life annuities were granted,
were not adapted to such purpose, and
that great loss to the public revenue
had arisen from the use of them. To
this letter he received an answer, stating
that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did
not think it expedient that any alteration
should be made at that time, and that the
computation of new tables would be at-
tended with great difficulty. The peti-
tioner addressed another letter on the llth
of that month on the same subject, in
which he entered into a detail of the loss
accruing to the public. He showed that,
on some of those annuities there was a loss
of eight, ten, twelve, and fifteen per cent,
and on others of twenty and twenty-four
per cent. That at some rates at whidh they
were granted there was a loss of not
less than 2,691,2001. on a transfer of
12,000,0001. of stock. This he showed
from tables calculated by baron Maseres,
long before any annuities were granted by
government. Now, after this it was too
bad that no steps had been taken by go-
vernment to prevent the great loss which
the public were daily sustaining. In
1825 the petitioner addressed another
letter on the subject, and received an an-
swer from the then Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, thanking him for his communica-
tion, and admitting that government were
aware that the tables on which the an-
nuities were calculated were inaccurate,
and that inquiries were making, in order
to get more correct information. He was
surprised that the noble lord, who was at
that time Chancellor of the Exchequer,
should forget this circumstance.-- The
hon. alderman then proceeded to point
out the great loss which had accrued
to the public from inattention to the com-
munications made by the petitioner; who,
he considered, had been hardly used. He
had not sought for any remuneration,






Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


prices were low; and it deluded the agri-
culturists on the other, because it pre-
tended to secure them high prices by pro-
tecting duties, when the imposition and
collection of such duties would, in fact, be
impossible. The consequence would be,
thatthe people would obtain no relief when
the prices where high, but corn would be
retained in the warehouses until it could
be let out at the price of 72s., and then
the country would be deluged with it.
The further the House departed from the
principle of free trade, the greater would
be the mischief they would produce to the
country. Our commerce had already suf-
fered much from the neglect of that prin-
ciple, and no one had so ably shown the
evils of a prohibitory system, as the right
hon. gentleman who now stood forward as
its advocate.
Mr. Portman said, he agreed with the
right hon. gentleman as to the duty now
proposed; for when the price was at 60s.
he found, by the returns, that the former
duty had not afforded a sufficient protec-
tion to the agriculturists. When the
price was alfove that sum, he was not pre-
pared to say that some alteration might
not be made without injury to the landed
interest.
The Committee then divided : For the
Resolutions 202 ; For the Amendment 58 ;
Majority 144.

HOUSE OF LORDS.
Thursday, April 24.
CORPORATION AND TEST ACTS REPEAL
BILL.] Lord Holland moved the order
of the day for receiving the report of the
committee on this bill.
The Earl of Eldon said, he had some
amendments to move, to which he wished
to call the attention of the House. The
first clause of the bill, as it now stood,
would go to repeal the act of Charles 2nd ;
to which he could not consent. He was
also bound to say, thathe had received some
information with regard to the second
clause of the bill. In his apprehension,
the second clause, as it was now worded,
though he was conscientiously satisfied
that it was not intended to be adopted in
the construction it would bear, was worded
in the most artful manner possible. The
second clause was stated to be, and un-
doubtedly was, introduced from those bills,
which had been brought into parliament
for the relief of the Roman Catholics,


The recital, as far as it went, was correct,
but it left out the most essential part of
the bill from which it was borrowed. The
original passages as it stood in the Act of
Union was in these words :-"Whereas, it
is reasonable and necessary, that the true
Protestant religion professed and estab-
lished by law in the Church of England,
and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
government, thereof, should be effectually
and unalterably secured." The difference
between this clause and the preamble of
the present bill was, that the former stated,
that the true Protestant religion, pro-
fessed an'd established by law in the Church
of England, and the doctrine, worship,
discipline, and government, of that Church
should be effectually and unalterably se-
cured," but the present bill left out any
provision regarding the Protestant religion;
what he proposed, therefore, was, to make
the bill avow, that the Protestant religion
as professed and established by law in
the Church of England, was as inviolably
established as the doctrine, worship, disci-
pline, and government, of that Church it-
self." Th6 Act of Union stipulated also,
that the Acts of parliament now in force
for the establishment and preservation of
the Church of England shall remain and
be in full force for ever." The Test and
Corporation acts were then in existence,
and it seemed that a very different
opinion was then held as to their neces-
sity. ,It was his intention in making
this proposition, to put upon record in
their lordships' Journals, that there were
some individuals who were desirous that
these Acts should still be preserved. He
agreed, on the one hand, that their lord-
ships should not, on account of any ap-
prehension they might have respecting the
Roman Catholic claims, refuse to give
relief to the Dissenters; but, on the other
hand, he trusted that whatever they did,
while they took care not to prejudice the
Roman Catholics, the bill would leave
that question exactly as ft was before.
The learned lord concluded by moving the
insertion of the following words: And
whereas the true Protestant religion, as
professed and established by law in the
united Church of England and Ireland,
Sand the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
governmentthereof, should be effectually
and unalterably secured; and whereas the
-true Protestant religion, as professed and
established by law in the Church of Scot-
land, with the doctrine, worship, discipline,


39 I-IOUSE OF LORDS,






,1 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


though he was entitled to it; but some of
his communications had been delayed,
some had not been presented, and others
remained unanswered. He trusted, how-
ever, that proper attention would now be
paid to them,
Ordered to lie on the table.

DELAYS IN THE COUwT or CHAN-
CEly,] Mr, M. A, Taylor said, he rose,
in pursuance of the notice he had giten,
to submit a motion respecting the present
state of the Court of Changery. He had
at one time thought that this subject
would have had the sanction of the go-
vernment; and had that been so, it would
not have been necessary for him to occupy
the attention of the House for any length
of time; but it was necessary for him to
make out a case to induce the government
to look into the abuses of that Court,
which, he contended, and would prove,
was in a worse state than ever; alike in-
jurious to the interests of the country, and
to the welfare of the subject. He sup-
posed, that because the motion came from
so humble ani individual as himself, it
would have but little weight with govern-
ment; but he trusted that the good sense
of the country and of that House would
support him, if they should see, as they
could cat but see, that, as the Court was
now constituted, it was not fit for the
business of suitors, and that they would,
one day, come forward and demand that
immediate steps should be taken to ame-
liorate the condition of the people, with
respect to Chancery proceedings. If he
was in error in thinking that some such
measure was necessary, that House par-
ticipated in the error with him; for that
House and the government had, from
time to time, agreed that some amendment
in the mode of proceeding was necessary.
In 1811, the casting voice of the Speaker
decided that measures ought to be adopt-
ed for the purpose of affording a remedy
for the evils complained of; and that
House, in concurrence with the House of
Lords, agreed that some immediate steps
should be taken to give effect to the busi-
ness of the court. A measure was carried
for that purpose in 1813; yet he could
prove that, at that time, there was not
one third of the business to be disposed
of which there was at the present moment.
It would not be necessary for him, in sup-
port of this, to go in detail into the vo-
luminous evidence contained in the re-
S


ports of the commissioners: a few extracts
would be sufficient; for he took it for
granted, that no man could go into the
purlieus of that court without admitting
the evil of which he complained. The
House, as well as the public, admitted the
necessity of doing something to remove
the evil; but it was of such magnitude,
that parties were afraid to look it in the
face. When the state of theioqprt was
talked of, its many imperfections were
readily admitted; but then it was asked,
"What can be done? How will you
remedy it ?" So that the very magnitude
of the evil operated in favour of its con-
tinuance. It had been said, that no evil
should be without a remedy; and he was
asked, what remedy he had to propose?
He had proposed one: and then he was
at once met by the parties objecting, that
they were not agreed as to the extent of
the evil. He, however, could assure his
hon; and learned friend, the Attorney-
general, that he would still go on-that
he would, from time to time, take the
sense of the House upon such measures
as he thought were required, and were
practicable. Many of those evils might
be soon remedied, if those who admitted
the extent of the evil-if those who ex-
perienced it in their attorney's and soli-
citor's bills of cost, and who saw the in-
jury which the system was doing-if each
individual would come forward, state his
own particular grievance, and demand re-
dress. He himself had nothing to do"
with the Court of Chancery; he was not
afflicted with the misfortune of being a
party in any of its proceedings; for he
knew so much of it, that he would will-
ingly forfeit hundreds of pounds rather
than be involved in a Chancery suit. Mi-
nisters, it would appear, did not think
proper to look into the proceedings of
this court, and thus the public was sacri-
ticed to political interests. He spoke not
of the present moment, but of times past;
for he had been told, on a former occa-
sion, when speaking upon this subject to
a person high in office, that the fact was,
they could not afford to part with the
then lord Chancellor, lest it should be the
means of breaking up the government.
Was not this, he would ask, a departure
from the principles on which a Court of
Equity was established ? Those who were
acquainted with the nature of an Equity
Court would admit, that it was not created
for thb sake of the emolument it would


Delays in the Court of Chancery.







give to the person who was placed at its dual were entitled to 2001. under a will,
head. It was not set up as an object for and the executors, from over caution, did
political ambition. The office of keeper not choose to admit the assets, he would
of the Great Seal of former days, had not defy the ingenuity of the most active soli,
that great political importance which was citor to get that 2001. out of court in less
now attached to it. The principle on than six years. Again, unless the assets
which an Equity court was established was were supposed to be sufficient to cover all
for the relief of a suitor in cases to which demands and leave a residue, a widow and
the common law did not reach, and for no children would not receive a farthing for
other purpose. years, unless the master should make a
He would not, as he had stated, go special report in their favour. Before he
into the report of the commissioners, for proceeded further, he would put the
it went only to part of the practice of the House in possession of the motion which
court; but, notwithstanding that that he meant to submit. The motion was as
commission took up two years, and that follows:-" That it appears to this House
bills were brought into that House founded from the papers laid on the table, as well
upon it, and afterwards abandoned, all as from the report of the commissioners
that the public gained by it was a string appointed to inquire into the practice of
of resolutions, or orders, to accelerate the the High Court of Chancery, that, not-
hearing of a cause; but as he should al- withstanding the establishment of the of,
lude to other proceedings before the setting fice of Vice-chancellor in 1813, further
down of the case, it would not be neces, steps are necessary to advance the general
sary for him to touch upon them at pre- interests of suitors in Equity, to provide
sent. He would content himself with say- for the more prompt decision of cases, and
ing, that the orders recently made had to enable the Court of Chancery effectually
not gone as far as they might have gone, to discharge the important duties connected
for the correction of the evils of which he with its jurisdiction." That was the motion
complained. Without intendingto depart he should feel it his duty to submit, and to
from the rule which he had prescribed to call upon the House for their decision
himself, he might, however, express his with respect to it.
objection to the order which compelled a Having stated the object which he had
defendant to put in an answer on oath to in view, he would proceed to show the
a bill which was not filed upon oath. He amount of arrears at present existing in
had, he believed, in common with most the Courts of Equity. In performing this
men who had directed their attention to task, he had not the slightest intention to
the subject, beheld with regret the great impugn the character of any professional
strides made by the Court of Chancery in man. It was not of the individuals but of
extending its jurisdiction. If the Court the practice that he complained. It ap-
of Chancery should proceed as it had of peared from the papers on the table of the
late proceeded, the country gentlemen and House, that on the first day of Hilary
the commercial interest would take the Term, 1818, there stood on the paper of
alarm; for there was scarcely any subject the lord Chancellor, of re-hearings and
which might not be brought before that appeals, sixty-nine. Before the Vice-
court, or any persons who might not be chancellor, there stood, of causes, three
implicated in a suit. The wide jurisdic- hundred and fifty-one; of pleas and
tion of the court reminded him of a pas- demurrers, seventeen; of exceptions and
sage in Hudibras, in which the writer made further directions, one hundred and fifty-
that jurisdiction extend to questions of eight; making a total, in the two courts,
love and match-making. The passage of five hundred and ninety-five. It was
ran thus- important that gentlemen, not conversant
with the profession, should understand,
"And if you follow theiradvice, that when a cause was heard in Chancery,
In bills, and answers, and replies,
They'll write a love-letter in Chancery, it was merely put in the progress of being
Shall bring her on her oath to answer ye, decided. Decision did not take place on
And soon reduce her to be your wife, hearing the cause. It was sent, after
Or make her weary of her life." hearing, to the Master, who was some
The delays which took place in the ad- time in making his report; which was
ministration of justice in the Court of heard by the court, and then further di-
Chancery were so great, that if an indivi- reactions were to be given. The cause


.Pelalys ina the Coz~rt of Chancery.


APRIL 24, 1828. 64






55 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


might be brought to a second hearing, and
the judge might require the production of
other facts. What he complained of was,
that the cause often stood in the paper
for hearing for two years, and then the
further directions of the court often did
not come on for nineteen months, and
then it was very unlikely that the case
could be heard for a year longer, or even
a year and a half. The present Master of
the Rolls was the Vice-chancellor in 1818.
When he first occupied this latter office,
he was enabled, by great exertions, to
arrange, that, after hearing a cause, the
further directions should be disposed of
within six or seven months. But business
increased upon his hands to such an
extent, that, soon after, this six or seven
months became eighteen or nineteen
months. A cause could not be heard
until the process of further directions
came on except, indeed, in peculiar cases.
To return, however, to the papers before
the House. In Hilary Term, 1828, there
were before the Chancellor and Vice-
chancellor five hundred and fifty-nine
causes; but many of these had been set
down before Easter Term, 1826, and
many before Trinity Term, 1827. There
were now on the paper-re-hearings two,
exceptions eighty-one, causes one hundred
and forty-seven, making, in all, two hun-
dred and' thirty cases for the decision of
the Master of the Rolls; so that upon
the last Hilary Term, there were alto-
gether eight hundred and twenty-five
Equity cases waiting the decisions of the
respective judges of the three courts.
He understood, from the papers on the
table, that the two hundred and thirty
cases which stood on the paper of the
Master of the Rolls at the period mentioned,
had since been all cleared off.
He now claimed the attention of the
House to another document; namely, the
printed papgr usually furnished to counsel,
and which was issued about a fortnight
ago. From this paper it appeared, that
there were then standing before the Court of
Chancery twenty judgments, and before
the Vice-chancellor two. At the present
moment there were causes undecided in
the Rolls' Court which were heard before
lord Lyndhurst when he sat there. These
facts, which he had stated from returns
before the House, were evidence of the
existence of a state of things which could
not be contemplated without the greatest
anxiety. For-th& present Vice-chancellor


he entertained the greatest respect. He
knew that he would spare no exertions to
expedite business in his court; but it was
in evidence, from the mouth of that learned
person himself, that the state of the court
rendered it impossible to despatch business
adequately. At the outset of his address
he said he pledged himself to prove, that
the Court of Chancery was in a worse
state at present than it was at the time of
the establishment of the Vice-chancellor's
Court. In 1811 and 1812 the House
thought proper to advise that some steps
should be taken with respect to the Court
of Chancery. The consequence of that
interference of the House was, the estab-
lishment of the Vice-chancellor's Court
in 1813. He would now compare the
state of the court at that period with its
present state. At the former period, there
stood before the Court of Chancery-
of causes, one hundred and fourteen; of
appeals, thirty-five; of re-hearings five;
of demurrers, fifty-nine: making altogether
two hundred and thirteen. In the Rolls'
Court, there were-of causes, two hundred
and twenty-six; of further directions, forty-
four : amounting altogether to two hundred
and seventy. Thus, then, it appeared,
that at the time when it was considered
necessary to establish the Vice-chancellor's
Court, the arrears in equity amounted to
only four hundred and eighty-three;
whereas now they amounted to five
hundred and ninety-five. And, but for
the great exertions of the Master of the
Rolls, that number would have been
augmented to eight hundred and twenty-
five.
This being the case, then, he was
warranted in saying, that the House was
called on to take some steps, if they acted
consistently with their former views of the
subject. He thought that one 'measure
ought to be the separation of the bank-
ruptcy jurisdiction from the Chancellor's
Court. In the Vice-chancellor's Court'
there were, in last Hilary Term, two hun-
dred and forty-five bankruptcy petitions
to be heard, besides thirteen that were
standing over-in all two hundred and.
fifty-eight. In 1813, the. number was
only two hundred and three. It thus
appeared, that there existed, for the inter-
ference of the House, much stronger
reasons at present than those which pro-
duced the establishment of the Vice-
chancellor's Court in 1813.
He now felt himself bound to refer to


Delays in the Co~urt of Chancery.






57 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


the evidence given before the commission.
In page 94 of the Report, Mr. Hamilton, a
solicitor of considerable eminence, gave
the following opinion as to the delays
with respect to hearings: -" I see no other
way (of altering the time) than that of
appointing additional judges; or the
Master of the Rolls sitting in the day time
from ten till four,instead of the evening, from
six, till ten, and also sitting more frequently
than he does." This question was put to
Mr. Hamilton-" If you set down a cause
before the Vice-chancellor in Trinity Term,
when is there a probability of its being
heard?" Mr. Hamilton's answer was,
" I think it could not come on in less than
eighteen months, if all the causes which
are now set down are fully heard." Mr.
Hamilton was then asked-" Supposing
the cause to be heard before the lord
Chancellor, is there much, and what time,
elapses before obtaining a decision?"
The question referred to the late lord
Chancellor. The answer was, Certainly;
frequently months, sometimes years; and
I have heard of many cases, in which the
parties have not been able to obtain any
decision at all." In a subsequent part of
his examination, Mr. Hamilton expressed
his opinion of the absolute necessity of
separating the bankruptcy jurisdiction
from the other duties of the lord
Chancellor, if the appeals were ever
to be heard in any reasonable time. The
evidence of Mr. Cooke, a gentleman well-
known, of considerable professional ex-
perience, went to prove that the bankruptcy
jurisdiction occupied a considerable por-
tion of the time of the court, and more
and more every day. In the course of the
examination of sir L. Shadwell, the present
Vice-chancellor, the following question
was put to him :-" Do you conceive that
the Court, with its present powers, is
capable of the discharge of the duties
which you imposed upon it?" His reply
was-" I think if you had three angels,
you could not get through the business."
He believed that the opinion then ex-
pressed by the present Vice-chancellor still
remained unaltered. The same learned
individual expressed an opinion, that the
simplest mode of removing the evil com-
plained of was to separate the bankruptcy
jurisdiction from the Court of Chancery :
he thought that then the three judges
would be able to get through the remain-
ing business.-Mr. Bickersteth, a man of
as high standing as any in the profession,


stated in the course of his examination,
that "The delay which happens after the
case is ready for hearing, and before it is
heard and a decree made, appears to me
to be attributable to the Court." He like-
wise stated, that he considered the present
number of judges insufficient. Mr. James
Lowe, an eminent solicitor, complained
before the commission, that his causes set
down for hearing were not heard within
any reasonable time. He further stated,
that the expense of simply attending the
court to get one case heard, amounted to
1,0001. He likewise cited the case of
" Oldham v. Cooke," in which the Master
reported favourably to his client in 1816,
and in 1824 the exceptions taken to that
report had not keen heard. Mr. Bell, the
counsel, stated, that considerable time was
occupied with bankruptcy cases, and was
of opinion, that if all the duties which at
present attached to the Courts of Chancery
were continued, the three judges could not
despatch the business which came before
them with sufficient celerity. One of the
witnesses examined by the commissioners
was Mr. Forster, who once practised at the
Chancery bar, but had for some years re-
tired from the profession. Many years
ago he drew up certain propositions for
amending the practice in the Court of
Chancery, which were approved of by lord
Thurlow, but which had by some accident
been allowed to sleep, and had never been
brought into operation. Mr. Forster, in
his evidence, said, that any change in the
practice to be effectual must be accom-
panied by a change in the constitution of
the Court, and by a different organization
and application of its judicial powers.
Mr. Winter, the solicitor, stated in his
evidence, that no blame was attributable
to the solicitors who practised in
Chancery. He begged to call the atten-
tion of the House to this point, because
lord Redesdale, in his pamphlet, had
thrown much blame on the solicitors. Ac-
cording to that learned lord, it would be ne-
cessary to believe that a solicitor expended
all his energy in a court of law, and reserved
only his sloth for a court of Equity. Mr.
Winter said, that the cause of delay was to
be found in the different instruments with
which a solicitor worked in a court of law
and in a court of equity. The essence of
a court of law, he said, was despatch, and
the essence of a court of equity was delay.
Mr. Heald and Mr. Roupell both stated,
'that the business in Chancery had lately


AtmIL 24, 1828. 58







49 Government Annuities.
as related to applications for admission
into corporations, it might be necessary to
insert the word "Protestant," to guard
against the possibility of the event to
which he had referred.
Their lordships then divided upon the
earl of Eldon's amendment; Contents 31;
Not-Contents 71; Majority against the
amendment 40. After a short conversa-
tion, the"further consideration of the re-
port was postponed till to-morrow.

PROTEST.] The following Protest against
the introduction of the words "on the
true faith of a Christian" in the Decla-
ration, was entered on the Journals.
Dissentient.
1. Because-The introduction of the
words upon the true faith of a Christian'
implies an opinion in which I cannot con-
scientiously concur, namely, that a parti-
cular faith in matters of religion is neces-
sary to the proper discharge of duties
purely political or temporal.
2. Because-It appears from two acts,
the one passed in the 10th year of George
1st. cap. 4, and the other in the 15th
year of George 2nd. cap. 7, that the words
'upon the faith of a Christian' occurring
in the Oath of Abjuration have been dis-
pensed with in cases which were found
not to be within the spirit and scope of
the original law-and it seems to me
inexpedient to introduce unnecessarily into
a Declaration of this nature a form of
words which experience has shewn may
produce effects not contemplated by those
who imposed it.
(Signed) "VASSALL HOLLAND."

HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Thursday, April 24.
GOVERNMENT ANNUITIEs-Loss TO
THE PUBLIC THEREON.] Mr. Alder-
man Waithman said, he rose to pre-
sent a petition from Mr. Moses Wing, of
Market-street, Southwark, and of Middle-
row, Bloomsbury, relative to the great
losses sustained by the public in the Life
Annuities sold by government. The hon.
alderman, after expressing his surprise
at having heard it stated elsewhere, that
no communications had been received
by government, pointing out the losses
on those annuities, save those of Mr.
Finlayson, observed, that that gentleman
had predicted the loss, and said he would
prove it by his own tables, which tables,


APRIL 24, 1828. 50
though they had been promised eight
years ago, were not yet ready. He did
not know where the blame rested, but
it was certain that Mr. Finlayson received
5001. a year to enable him to make out
those tables, and that great loss had
accrued to the public by not having
them prepared. It would be seen from
the statement of the petitioner, that he
also had made a communication to go-
vernment on this subject, so early as May,
1819. At that period he addressed a
letter to the then Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, stating that the tables by which
the government life annuities were granted,
were not adapted to such purpose, and
that great loss to the public revenue
had arisen from the use of them. To
this letter he received an answer, stating
that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did
not think it expedient that any alteration
should be made at that time, and that the
computation of new tables would be at-
tended with great difficulty. The peti-
tioner addressed another letter on the llth
of that month on the same subject, in
which he entered into a detail of the loss
accruing to the public. He showed that,
on some of those annuities there was a loss
of eight, ten, twelve, and fifteen per cent,
and on others of twenty and twenty-four
per cent. That at some rates at whidh they
were granted there was a loss of not
less than 2,691,2001. on a transfer of
12,000,0001. of stock. This he showed
from tables calculated by baron Maseres,
long before any annuities were granted by
government. Now, after this it was too
bad that no steps had been taken by go-
vernment to prevent the great loss which
the public were daily sustaining. In
1825 the petitioner addressed another
letter on the subject, and received an an-
swer from the then Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, thanking him for his communica-
tion, and admitting that government were
aware that the tables on which the an-
nuities were calculated were inaccurate,
and that inquiries were making, in order
to get more correct information. He was
surprised that the noble lord, who was at
that time Chancellor of the Exchequer,
should forget this circumstance.-- The
hon. alderman then proceeded to point
out the great loss which had accrued
to the public from inattention to the com-
munications made by the petitioner; who,
he considered, had been hardly used. He
had not sought for any remuneration,






0 HiOUSP, OF COMMONS,
considerably increased, aid that thejudges,
with all their diligetice, were hot able to
keep it down. Mr. eliis and other itidi-
viduals spoke to the same effect.
Nbw, having detailed this evidence to the
HtItiie, he would A~k whethet he was right
or wrong in the proposition which he in-
tended tb' suhbhit for their coiisideratiioni
lie jw no reasoii Why that propoitiion
should be opposed by goverhiiient. The
evil itiust be admitted. The question theni
wai, what remedy was to be proposed ?
He had been told that there existed great
objeCtions tb the re imdy which he had
always proposed. His opinion, hinwevei,
had Undergone ro change. He had statFed
to the House matter which eafe hodie to
the bUsifae's and the bdioft ofth,- coiutr-,.
it it every im:a- cas --' ,oi,,iIi na1( d
I'calyon."' All admit ted the il,but many
did hot dare to look it in the face. The
arguments against reform, id the days of
Mir. Burke, Were, that the fiforti was hot
p3faticable which he contit'eplatdd-that
that whidh Was not practicable was riot
desitable. That great man, in reply to
these objections, Observed, th-it c ~ ry thirg
6f this nattite was attainable by well-in-
fbrtied minds of sufficient energy. Iii
that Opinion the lbouse concurred, and
followed up his principles. To that spirit
in the House of Comiroh of that day-
Which he hoped would be imitated by the
present Hoise of Commons, whidh had
the benefit. Of a more extehsive diperience
-were to be attributed the great and im-
portant reforhtis which took place in the
1E'ihecquer, in the household, and in other
branches of the public expenditure. He
could not help feeling sorry that the right
hah. Secretary for the 1Home. Department
was hot present. He thought thaf, when
a motion of this sort was to cbme before
the House, the right hoti. gehtlematian tight
well have spared it some of his attention.
Where a question Was to arise which coti-
cerned to les thah forty millions ot the
propl ty of the county, he thoiight the
right h6n. gpntlefiah did wrong to absent
himself; and that, too, at the very moment
when mniy were iotting itf gaol, because
they could tiot obtain the dc isio.n of the
Court-iJust at tnis tinuite, Mr. Peel
entered the House].-He was glad to see
the tight hot. gentleman, though he
cb'tld not butt wish that he had beeij pre-
sent whei he stated to the House what
had beeti the natufe of the evidence taken
before the 6 oltiftigsiMeis. H' I wfuld,


beidays ini the Court of Cihancery. 86
hoWeVei, give the right hbio. gentleman
a 'opy of that 6vidence.--,tMr. Peel slid,
he had read it.]-He was glal t' heat that
sBuh was the case, for il the right hoi.
gentleimani had indeed read thte videice,
how he ctil'd hbop to get ve t the bir-
ctumstahces of the case, he did it knibiw.
As to the question of bankruptcy, that was
one of secoidaty ''onsiderati'o : he did iiot
intend to inlsist that that mniut he tb i~i
away, but he did itisIst inost strenuously
that something must be done. What was
the project that governimeilt had fof af-
fording felief tto send a po tion ot fhe
cases tb the Ex. tl.l)iur. BWt, was thigh
either jiust or fair? What! had heiiot a
right ac'or.:innr to the constitution of this
realm, to set down his 'cause in the Higi
Cotrt of Chaniery, di- tO go befdte th
l'rd Chancellor of Englahd, and pre6ei
the great seal to determine his bas' if he
thOught proper ? This he understood to
be their project, Or t ast leas a consierable
paft of it.-HOiW did the meniimers of his
ni:jesty's govertihIint treat hfi wheAn he,
On forrter occasiois, brought on the dch-
sideration of this subj'edt? W \en he
offered a remedy for the evils tcoiipi.dnitl
of iti that coixt, they replied No, wa
cannot accept of your remedy, for We do
not adint your facts." Thetre We soti'e
in that House, who forimefly deeply re-
gretted the existence of these griivaices,
who argued that the motioii was not nehes-
sary now, and ought to be withdrawn. Was
it because there was a ileW gdvertiinint,
and a ne,.w lord Chahcellot, that this great
object, enmbracihg the interests b so large
a portion of the population of this country,
should be given up ? What, he would ask,
was the state of the oautt now ? Had any
pledge been redeemed since the appoint-
itrant of the successor of the l rte lord
Chancelibtr? And here he begged to be
understood as not meaning to ithply any
deisuire On lord Lyndhurst; for he oiild
admit, that the evil ibsted nht with that
noble judge, but with the niemblirs '6 his
imajesty's goveihment bCollectnely. ho d-
manini'd linensible to the situation of the
shit6ts nbw labouring und r thd 'Oiise-
quenceg of being thui d,-prived b tih6ir
property, and rctu-cd tO inter efe. He
called on gotrittiennt to redtass the evils
complaidid of. H6 entreated miilisteis td
consult the public feeling in this iistance.
1H now charged the gbverhtineit with
being acces5oryt to the cohtinuai-6e os this
shamefiil sySteni; ah di hae iice ir t






61 Delay& in the Court of Chancery.


manded for the people, justice. He, for
one, would never consent to send the suits
in Chancery to be tried in the Court of
Exchequer; on the contrary, he felt, with
many of the gentlemen who had given
evidence on the committee, that the
simplest mode to relieve the Court of Chan-
cery would be to separate the bankruptcy
business from it. Supposing such a sepa-
ration were to take place, and lord Eldon
were appointed judge in bankruptcy cases,
would the public deplore such an event?
Certainly not. But the difficulty was, who
was to have the patronage in that case ?
That was the question, and the real ques-
tion. There was the appointment of the
clerks in bankruptcy, and under the
patentee; the patentee himself, with a
salary of 6,0001. a year, besides his deputy
with another good salary; all which money
was wrung from the wretched creditors and
their distressed families. What objection
could there possibly be to make the lord
Chancellor a judge of appeal in equity,
and the occupier of the woolsack in the
House of Lords? If the judge of the
Rolls court were to sit, regularly assisted
by the labours of the Vice-chancery court,
and another judge to be appointed in aid
of the Chancery court, the business would
be satisfactorily, as well as rapidly, got
over, and the High Court of Chancery be
what it ought to be,-a real court of appeal
in equity. To talk of its being so now,
was absurd: it was an appeal from a judge
in a tie-wig in Lincoln's-inn-hall, to the
same judge in a full-bottom wig in the
House of Lords, with a snoring bishop
perhaps on one side, and a Scotch peer on
the other, wishing him and the cause toge-
ther at the devil? The lord Chancellor
would then, in reality, be judge in appeal
in his own court, as well as reviser of the
opinion and judgments of others in the
House of Lords. If this plan were adopted,
did ministers suppose the people of this
country would make a niggardly provision
for carrying the project into execution ? He
begged the House to recollect, that in his
representation of the cause of the evil, as
well as the remedy, he had been supported
by the Vice-chancellor, by Mr. Bicker-
steth, and by several intelligent persons
about the Court of Chancery. By whom
had he been opposed? By his majesty's
government. It was to them that all the
blame was imputable, and to no other
quarter. But he trusted that the public
would not be contented, intil a thorough


reform was effected iii the Court of Chan-
cery. The hon. member concluded his
speech with the motion which he had read
in the course bf it.
Lord Rancliffe seconded the motion.
He said he had long been aware of the
many mischiefs that the delays in the
Court of Chancery entailed on its suitors;
and although he had a very high respect
for the present lord Chancellor, and did
not conceive that the fault rested with him,
he nevertheless trusted that such an alter-
ation would be made as to rectify those
heavy abuses which made that court a
serious evil to all who were so unfortunate
as to have business to transact in it.
Mr. Horace Twiss said, he would not
inquire into the other general causes of
delay in Chancery, because he was satis-
fled that the main source of mischief, to
which all the others were as nothing in the
comparison, was the length of time that
intervened between the setting down of a
cause for hearing in any of its stages, and
its coming onto beheard before the court.
He could make this intelligible in a few
plain words. Suppose a cause to commence
to-day, and allow a year for the stages
prior to the hearing, the answers and the
evidence, which would bring the parties
to April 1829. The cause would then be
set down, but it would not get its turn to
be heard for a year and three quarters;
that is, till the beginning of 1831. The
ordinance of Cromwell, that every cause
should be heard on the same day on which
it was set down, would not be reasonable;
an average interval of two months might
be allowed between the setting down and
the hearing: but what would be said to
the present couge of the court, which, in-
stead of averaging a period of two months,
averages a period of almost two years?
Well !. in the beginning of 1831 the cause
would be heard, and the judge would di-
rect the necessary inquiries or accounts
before the Master, which might occupy
another year. In the beginning of 1832,
when these were completed, the cause
would be set down for further directions,
for which it mustwait a year and three-
quarters more; that is, till the end of
1833. A second reference to the Master
was perpetually required; as, for instance,
where land was devised to pay debts and
legacies ;* and this would occupy, he would
suppose, a shorter time; so that, at the
beginning of 1834, the cause would be set
down for the final decree. Would the


Arpti 24, 1828.






63 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


suitor be then put out of pain ? Far from
it: another period of a year and three-
quarters must elapse before the cause could
come to the top of the paper, when at last
it would be finally disposed of towards the
close of 1835.
This was the example of a case, where
no undue delays were interposed by any
of the parties. Two years and half, or,
with diligence, two years, would have been
occupied by them in the necessary busi-
ness of the cause. That, indeed, is a
long time for a widow, an orphan, a credi-
tor, nay, even a legatee, to be kept out of
the pittance, they are respectively entitled
to; but, long as it is, it is a mere span in
comparison of that other amount of time,
the aggregate of the three periods of a
year and three quarters each, consumed
in waiting successively for the first hearing,
for the further directions, and for the final
decree. The whole time required for the
cause having been seven years, or seven
years and a half, from five to six of these
years, that is, more than two-thirds of the
whole time, would have been absolutely
wasted and thrown away, not in preparing
for justice, 'but in merely standing still to
expect it-wasted, not by the parties, not
by the solicitors, not by the practice, not
by the court-but solely by that want of
means to get through the business, which
is now become not more the grievance of
individual suitors, than the reproach of the
country. He had instanced no extreme
case. If an example were selected where
a plea, a demurrer, or an exception had
been brought on and overruled, he might
have had to add another period of a year
and three-quarters, making upwards of
nine years. If the suit were then carried
on to a re-hearing, or an appeal, the num-
ber of years would amount to eleven or
twelve; of which about nine would have
been consumed by the suitor in the mere
act, or rather the mere suffering, of wait-
ing for his several turns to be heard before
the court. Again, one delay begets an-
other. If, in any of these long intervals,
any of the parties die, the suit abates, and
another period of a yeaJ and three-quar-
ters may elapse before it can again be
brought to a hearing. He had been coun-
sel in the very last cause ever heard before
sir Anthony Hart, when Vice-chancellor,
which was a suit against an Insurance
Company for a life annuity; and, as the
annuitant was between eighty and ninety,
time was a material object, It had been


partly heard on the last day of Easter term;
but the pressure of other business having
obliged the Vice-chancellor to postpone
that, and other causes, to a distant day, it
happened that before that day one of the
defendants died, and the suit abated. The
annuitant, at almost ninety, was left with-
out any provision, but the kindness of some
of his relations. Within these few weeks,
he also was dead; the annuity being still
unpaid, and the cause still unheard; and
all this without any blame to the court, or
to any individual, from the mere inade-
quacy of the number of tribunals. In very
many cases there were more than twenty or
even thirty parties; and it was obvious,
that, without calculating on any extraor-
dinary accidents, such suits, if they were
to be thus protracted, would be abated
perpetually, by the mere probabilities of
human mortality. The costs, too, were in-
creased; for, if a solicitor's capital were
locked up for ten years instead of three,
his charges must be proportionally greater.
It was no good argument to refer to the
delay of three terms, which sometimes oc-
curred at common law.. That was a de-
lay of almost a year; but it was only half
the duration of the delay in each stage of
an equity suit; besides, the delay at law
was not in the original hearing, but only
in proceedings in the nature of appeal-
such as motions for new trials, arguments
on special cases, and so on. Nine-tenths
of all the business at common law began
and ended within the year. A cause at
common law was usually confined to a
single issue, and disposed of by a single
hearing; a cause in equity consisted of
many separate questions, and could seldom
be disposed of in less than two or three
hearings. The delays, then, between the
periods of setting down and of hearing,
were the great, overwhelming grievance of
the Chancery, to be now redressed by the
legislature. Those who ascribed the evil
to the slowness of particular judges, were
ignorant or forgetful how ancient a griev-
ance it was; as ancient, at the least, as the
time of Henry 8th. The arrear, even then,
was so heavy, that it was deemed an her-
culean labour to discharge it. Fuller, in
relating that sir Thomas More achieved
this object (on which he observes, in his
quaint way, that as Moore was born in
Milk-street, so he was the brightest star
that ever sh2ne in that via lactea"), re-
cords a quatrain which was written on
that ccurrence, and which shows how


Delays ina the Court of Chahcery.







65 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


great a feat, even then, it was consi- it was one, and not the least ingredient,
dered :- in bringing forward upon him that fatal
When More some time had Chancellor been, distemper, which after it had once seized,
No more suits did remain : never left him till he died." He could
The same shall never more be seen, have felt no sickness more painful than
Till More be there again." that which the suitors endure, the "hope
Accordingly, the benefit was not a perma- deferred," which makes the heart sick.
nent one. In the reign of James 1st, we In a very few years came the Revolu-
find sir Edward Coke complaining that tion. It does not appear that any extra-
" the Chancery embraceth so many causes ordinary effort was made by lord chancellor
as the Chancellor and Master of the Somers; and the judge whose reputation
Rolls cannot possibly determine them." stands highest of those who have held the
Yet this was not for want of energy and seals between lord Somers and lord Eldon,
capacity in the judges; for the Master of was, undoubtedly, lord Hardwicke. Was
the Rolls, for some years preceding, had he, that celebrated chancellor, successful
been sir Julius Caesar, than whom few in reducing the arrear of his court? On
judges have left a higher reputation behind the contrary, we find in the letter publish-
them; and the chancellor was no less a ed by Mr. Cooksey, in his Memoirs of
person than lord Bacon himself. Another Lord Hardwicke," that the length of
great effort was made by lord keeper Wil- time to which every cause was protracted
liams, who succeeded lord Bacon. But made the suitors weary, and glad to submit
how did he set about his object? Why, to any decree suggested, and agreed upon,
by exertions which it would be impossible by their counsel; in which neither party
for the bench or the bar to sustain for could complain of being aggrieved by the
any considerable time: he went into court judge of that court."
in the morning, two hours before daylight, Thus it had happened, that for almost
and continued his sittings in the evening, three centuries, with only two short inter-
till eight or nine o'clock. The present missions, the arrear had been continually
state of business would mock even that pressing; not, indeed, to the weighty
degree of diligence and resolution. Oliver amount which bears upon us now, but
Cromwell felt the difficulty-he saw how always to an amount beyond the per-
the delay in reality arose : that it consisted manent power of the court to keep it
in the length of time intervening between down; until the delays of Chancery have
the setting down and the hearing of the passed into a bye-word and a standing
causes. Then it was that he put forth an misery. When the mischief had been
ordinance, requiring that every cause thus uniform and continued, it was in
should be heard on the same day on which vain to ascribe it to causes that are tem-
it was set down. That was found impos- porary. To say that one judge had been
sible: the then Commissioners of the so slow in his habits as to retard the
Great Seal, of whom Whitelocke was one, average rate of proceeding, and that ano-
remonstrated upon this and several other their, from his hurry, had swelled the
of the ordinances as impracticable; and, business by the multiplication of appeals,
persisting in their opposition, were required was to speak of causes not peculiar to
to lay down the seals. Lord keeper certain periods, or to certain men, but
Guildford, after the Restoration, endea- common to all time, and inseparable from
voured to imitate the examples of More human nature. Neither would it be of
and of Williams ; and, during the vacation more avail to say, that in certain instances
of parliament, he succeeded, as we learn the arrear had been increased by thelong-
from Roger North, so far, that his remanets, continued illness of this or that among the
if any, were few. This continued," says judges. The four judges in Equity, the
North, till the parliament, and more un- lord Chancellor, the Master of the Rolls,
happily his own weakness came on, and the Vice-chancellor, and the lord Chief
made him unable to continue that close Baron (if indeed, the Chief Baron, so
application to the business of the court; much of whose time was occupied by cir-
and, for want of due time allowed for cuts and other common law business,
hearing of causes, the reins of the court could be counted as an equity judge),
grew loose, and the paper became loaded would generally, on an average, be men
with remanets, which to see was of itself, sixty years old; and of four men averaging
to him, a sickness. And I am confident sixty years, and all much harassed with
VOL, XIX. D


APRIL 24, 1828. 66






67 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


labour, one at least would usually be sub-
ject to attacks of ill-health. Now and then
some great exertion was made, as by More
and Williams, and lately by sir John
Leach, who two or three years ago reduced
the arrear from a year and three quarters
to less than a year. But these efforts
could not be kept up by any human
'strength, and when sir John Leach became
Master of the Rolls, the Vice-chancellor's
court was deeply in arrear, notwithstand-
ing all his meritorious exertions. And
what always renders the particular exer-
tions of any judge the more hopeless, is,
that no sooner has he wrought any sensible
decrease in the existing arrear, and thus
shortened the intervals of delay in his
court, than a multitude of those who, in
other times were disposed to acquiesce
under almost any oppression, rather than
encounter the delays of Chancery, take
heart upon the prospect of a speedier
administration, and crowd in with fresh
suits, till again the bitterness overflows,
and the same series of hardships is to
be repeated. The Vice-chancellor's court,
it was true, had been constituted in aid of
the Chancellor since the days of sir Edward
Coke's complaint as to the inadequacy of
the courts to keep down the arrear. But
the business of the Chancellor had in-
creased, on the other hand, in great
proportion. Appeals in Chancery and in
the House of Lords, Bankrupt appeals,
Lunatic petitions, miscellaneous matters
of a legal nature, requiring the attention
and advice of the first law officer of the
government, all these things, to say no-
thing of state affairs, occupied the time
of the Chancellor so largely, as to leave
him very little leisure for taking any
matters of original jurisdiction in Chan-
cery.
It had been said, that there was a
part of the time of lord Hardwicke, in
which the number of bills filed was as
great as in a corresponding period of lord
Eldon's time. But the business in lord
Hardwicke's days was not productive of
the same labour as at present; and, such
as it was, it appears that he was unable
to keep it under. In those days the
hearings, and the further directions dis-
posed of the cases; but now, perhaps,
from the increased value of the property
in litigation, every other cause gave rise to
a motion for an injunction, or for the pay-
ment of money into court, or for some
other important purpose, which occupied


as much time as a hearing, and yet did
not supersede the necessity of a hearing
afterwards. The length of the reports of
modern cases also multiplied the topics of
discussion, the speeches of counsel, and
the labour of judges. The value of the
property litigated was not, he allowed, an
accurate test of the comparative length,
or difficulty, or importance, of causes; but
still it was a consideration not to be alto-
gether set aside. Nqw, in 1740, the money
in the hands of the Accountant-general of
the court was 1,290,0001.; in 1820 it
was 34,000,0001. sterling. But, inde-
pendently of documents, it was manifest
that, with the accumulation of money,
stocks, and personal chattels of all kinds,
with the complication of civil and com-
mercial rights and relations, with the ex-
tension of credits and trusts, and with the
invention of securities and charges upon
every species of property and title, the
equitable as well as legal liabilities of our
fellow-subjects had necessarily multiplied
in the same proportion: insomuch that the
number of the parties to any proceeding,
and the number of the points to be ad-
justed among those parties, had increased
to an amount which the Hardwickes and
the Camdens of preceding reigns got only
had never to struggle with, but probably
never even foresaw. It therefore seemed
to him, that the business in Chancery
could now no longer be despatched as
formerly.
But the delay was not owing now-and
he doubted whether it ever had been
owing-to any want of sedulousness or
zeal in the judges. The reputation of the
Master of the Rolls, who was the senior
judge on the bench, had been so long
established, and so highly and so justly,
that it was a familiar theme of applause
with almost all who sate around. The
Vice-chancellor had been only half a year
in office; but no one would assert that,
with all his urbanity of manners, he had
shewn any want of the decision and dili-
gence which his station required. With
respect to the lord Chancellor, who had
now had a year's opportunity qo the bench
of doing justice to his great reputation at
the bar, he would say, and he said it con-
fidently, because he spoke from his own
personal observation, that he had given
hinielf to the discharge of the business in
his court, regularly, strenuously, and dili-
gently: not availing himself of any thing
unsettled in political affair ga a pla, for


Delays in the Court of Chanery..






69 JelP6ys i4 the Cburt of Chawery.


remissness in his court; not confining his
sittings to the five hours, which had been
usually devoted to that purpose, but often
extending his judicial mornings to six and
even seven hours. So long a sitting might
not be practicable as a permanent measure,
consistently with the necessary preparation
out of court; but in his great anxiety to
reduce the arrear, the lord Chancellor had
extended his sittings to a longer time than
the counsel could well afford to that duty.
Add to this, that before lord Lyndhurst no
time was ever wasted. His attention was
always fixed and intense; and he had
amply justified the characteristic commen-
dation pronounced on him last year in the
House (by Mr. B3rougham) of possessing,
in a pre-eminent degree, that faculty of
mind which is most conducive to forensic
despatch; the faculty of straightway dis-
engaging the kernel from the husk, and
seizing, amidst a mass of surrounding
matter, the essential points of the case
before him. Such being the judges, if the
arrear could be got under, they were likely
to do it. But all their efforts were una-
vailing to that end; and meanwhile, their
situation was a most painful one. Out of
court, they were assailed with perpetual
imputations of lukewarmness and negli-
gence; in court, they were besieged and
harassed, and almost threatened, with
applications the most contradictory and
distracting-suppose, continued the hon.
and learned gentleman, that a motion of
great importance to the suitor, arising in
the matter of some appeal from the Vice-
chancellor or Master of the Rolls, has been
partly heard before the lord Chancellor
upon a certain day. The cause, like
others, has taken up its eight or ten years
in the earlier stages, and may wait two or
three more for the decision of the appeal;
but the motion, meanwhile, is of the
grteatit consequence; it will, perhaps,
determine the main point of the cause, or
secure, or set at liberty, a large sum of
money, forming the whole property of the
litigtiirng parties, Having been partly
heard, it seems to bid fair for being finish-
ed on the morrow, in priority to the other
business of the day. In the morning,
then, the interested parties, believing that
the anxieties of ten years are now to receive
their quietus, repair to the court, naturally
expectant and eager. The chancellor
appears upon the bench, and the crisis
seems to have arrived. Sir, he has not
time so a uth as t, take his seat, before he


is assailed by a din of conflicting voices,
Here stands one, who represents that, for
eighteen months, a motion of his, of the
greatest urgency, has been waiting to be
heard, and that the property, which is the
subject of it, is mouldering away. A second
exclaims, that if instant interference be
not extended, a dishonest partner will ruin
him, by negotiating bills in the name of
the firm. A third, that unless the Great
Seal interpose on the instant, a fraudulent
trustee will leave the kingdom with his
whole property in his hands. With these
is a broken tradesman, beseeching for the
decision of a long-deferred question upon
his certificate, for the want of which his
hopes of re-establishment in trade, and the
bread of his children, will be lost for ever,
Another, who is in custody, comes up by
habeas corpus, and insists that, in favour
of liberty, his case be preferred to all
others. Some of these applications are
made by counsel-some by the parties
themselves, who, either from want of funds
to retain professional assistance, or from
that boldness which despair begets, throw
themselves in person on the kindness and
sympathy of the court, to give them from
compassion that priority which they can-
not claim of right. That is the state in
which the suitors are placed by the want
of tribunals to adjudicate their rights.
Sir, the ill effect of all this is not con-
fined to the suitors already in court. It
operates further as a general bounty upon
wrong doers. A party who is well-advised,
unless his claim be one of great magnitude,
will compromise it for a quarter of its value,
nay, often surrender it altogether, rather
than go, through the dreary waste of years
which must pass away before his cause can
possibly be brought to a decision. So
that you injure not only all those who are
now claiming justice at your hands, but
all those whom the present state of your
courts deters or precludes from claiming
it. No doubt it is good to diminish liti-
gation; but if you are to diminish it by
making your courts inaccessible to half
your subjects, you are bound, on that
reasoning, to make the benefit complete,
by closing them altogether. I am not in,
sensible, as an English subject, or as an
English lawyer, to the credit which this
country derives from the character of her
courts. But if we suffer the approach to
those courts to continue much longer
choked as it now is, I am afraid their
credit fo impartiality will soon resolve
D2


APniz, 4, 1828. 70






71 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


itself into this-that against both sides
alike they will be closed. What right
have we to take from any of our country-
men that first and greatest of the benefits
which every government virtually contracts
to bestow upon the subject, in return for
that portion of his natural liberty which
he gives up as a member of society, the
benefit of a practicable, available resort,
for the decision of his property, and the
vindication of his rights ? The protection
of poor and humble persons, the first ob-
ject of all government and society, is lost
in such a state of your tribunals, when
those suitors are unable to hold out against
the wasteful delays by which their wealthier
adversaries overbear them. It was with
apt and good cause that in the well-known
provision of Magna Charta, Nulli nega-
bimus aut differemus justitiam," the king's
undertaking not to deny justice, and his
undertaking not to delay it, were placed
together. The lawgivers of that day
coupled them, in the same clause of the
same sentence, discerning, even in that
dawn of legislation, how nearly akin are
the "differere justitiam" and the "negare."
The country has long endured a stoppage
of justice, while it could be glossed under
the name of a delay; but I fear the time
is coming when, if we mean to look the
evil in the face, we must lay aside that
flattering designation, a delay of justice,
and call it what it is-a denial. The tide
of fresh business has continued to pour in
and gain upon us, faster by far than our
present force can get it under; and unless
we are prepared to increase that force, it
must, of a surety, overwhelm us.
The remaining question then was, in
what way we should get our additional as-
sistance ? It had been thought, that an
effectual relief might be given by merely
disburthening the Great Seal of the business
of bankruptcy. Now, when the measure
of separating the bankruptcy was first sug-
gested, the proposal had some substance
in it, because the lord Chancellor then
heard all the bankrupt petitions. But,
since the appointment of the Vice-chan-
cellor, he heard, with a few special excep-
tions, only those upon which the Order of
the Vice-chancellor was appealed from: it
was the Vice-chancellor now, who in fact
heard the mass of the bankrupt petitions.
The question, therefore, which was raised
by the proposal for removing the jurisdic-
tion in bankruptcy from the Great Seal,
was not a question whether this relief


should now be given to the lord Chan-
cellor; for this relief had been given to
him already, and found by experience to
be insufficient. The only question that
could be raised on this point now was,
whether he should be relieved from that
small remnant of his judicature in bank-
ruptcy, which consists of appeals upon
bankrupt petitions. Now that relief would
give him too slight an addition of time to
be of any avail for the subduing of such
an arrear as now exists in the other de-
partments of the business; and it would,
therefore, at best, be inefficient as a re-
medy. But it would be worse than in-
efficient it would be injurious too.
Whatever should be your original tribunal
for the hearing of bankrupt petitions,
whether you might prefer a Vice-chan-
cellor, or a new judge expressly appointed,
or a bench of well-selected commissioners,
it was clear that, from the important
nature of the questions often raised upon
such petitions, and from the great number
of equitable considerations and principles
involved, you must allow the unsuccessful
party an appeal to some jurisdiction or
other; and this jurisdiction must be one
which is conversant with equitable doc-
trines, such as the administration of estates
among various claimants, and the arrange-
ment of substitutions and relative priorities.
What, then, shall this jurisdiction be ?
At present, there is no appeal in bank-
ruptcy to the House of Lords, but only to
the Great Seal. If you exclude the
Chancellor from sitting in bankruptcy to
hear these appeals, will you require the
House of Lords to receive them ? That
course would, no doubt, have this advan-
tage-that as the House of Lords is the
Supreme Court of Appeal in all other
cases, uniformity of constitution and of
ultimate decision would be provided for.
But then there would be a great increase
of delay, which, in bankruptcy, is most
peculiarly injurious; and there would be a
great increase of expense, which upon
bankrupt funds would be a destructive
charge; and, moreover, there would be
no saving of the Chancellor's time, as he
would still have the hearing of these
bankruptcy appeals, only sitting on the
woolsack of the House of Lords, instead
of sitting on the bench of the court of
Chancery. And even as far as uniformity
of decision is an object-and certainly it
is a material one-you would gain little
in practice by the change, It is an object


Delays in the Court of Chancery.






73 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


very nearly as well secured by the present not difficult to be found. It seemed to
course of an appeal to the Great Seal, as him, that the Equity business now done
it would be by an appeal to the House of in the Exchequer, and the machinery of
Lords; because, in either case, the go- the officers attached to the Equity side of
verning opinion will equally be that of that court, should be at once transferred,
the lord Chancellor. with the necessary adaptations and re-
He would not detain the House by fol- forms, to the court of Chancery, and that
lowing these considerations into further the appeal should be to the lord Chan-
detail, because he thought that even the cellor, as it is from the other tribunals of
points he had already touched on would Equity. And as this arrangement, to be
sufficiently indicate the difficulty of find- really useful, would require the daily and
ing, or framing, any other superior court, constant Equity sitting of the chief baron,
sufficiently conversant with those principles who has hitherto transacted the Equity
of equity which must be applied to bank- business of the Exchequer only between
rupt matters; and, at the same time, the intervals of the circuits and other
sufficiently identified (as the lord Chan- common law sittings, it would be requisite,
cellor always is) with the supreme appellate in order to leave the bench of the Exche-
jurisdiction, both of common law and of quer still full, and in order to make that
equity, which is administered in the House court what it ought to be-a court of
of Lords, to be substituted safely for that common law only, and available for the
authority which is now exercised by the assistance of the other common law tri-
lord Chancellor upon appeal petitions in bunals-that a new chief baron should be
bankruptcy. It seemed to be an opinion appointed to replace the Equity judge of
of the hon. member for Durham, that as the Exchequer, when his services should
the jurisdiction in bankruptcy was ori- thus have been transferred to the court of
ginally annexed to the Great Seal, not by Chancery. If, in addition to this arrange-
the ancient unwritten law of the land, but ment, the Master of the Rolls could be
only by statute, there would be no con- induced to hold his court daily in the
stitutional change in disconnecting it. morning, instead of sitting, as he now
But it was a statute, made in times whose does, chiefly in an afternoon, and that not
institutions are not usually treated without daily, we should then obtain, for the des-
high respect-it was a statute made in the patch of Equity and Bankruptcy business,
reign of Elizabeth, when sir Nicholas the whole time of three judges, beside the
Bacon was lord keeper; and made upon Chancellor ; that is, we should have, as
experience, that the earlier law of Henry now, the Vice-chancellor, we should have
8th, which had given the jurisdiction to the whole time of the Master of the Rolls,
the two chief justices, common lawyers, and we should have the whole time of
with the aid of a third, who was to be one the Chief Baron as a judge of Chancery.
of the great officers of state, was not This would make an addition almost equi-
effectual for its purpose. Indeed, if we valent to the creation of one new judge in
were to treat establishments as too modern Equity. The three courts would all be
to be of the substance of the constitution, going on together, each with a separate
because they may not be older than the bar; the hurry and distraction of our pre-
reign of queen Elizabeth, the constitutional sent condition would be avoided, and the
character would be taken away, not only judges and the leading counsel would no
from most of the institutions of our law, longer be drawn aside from their endeavour
but from most of the bulwarks of our to do the business in the manner which is
liberty. But while he strongly adhered to best, by a perpetual goading to do it in
the opinion, formed after the experience the manner which is quickest; for really,
of a good many years, both as commis- in the present day, from the pressure of
sioner of bankrupts, and as counsel in the the work, the question with the public was
courts of Equity, that the bankrupt peti- no longer whether this or that judge or
tions should be heard by Equity judges, counsel did his business usefully for the
with a jurisdiction of superintendance and suitors-not whether he brought out fully,
appeal in the lord Chancellor, yet he was and with their due weight, all the material
as firmly persuaded as the hon. mover points in each case; the question was only,
himself, that a remedy ought to be, and how much business does he get through ?
must be applied to the present alarming The consequence is, undoubtedly, that a
arrears. That remedy, he thought, was few individuals evince great faculties, and


APRIL 24, 1828. 744






Oelays in the Court of Chafetecy.


arrive at great emoluments; but he was
persuaded, that it would be better, not
only for the public, but even for the bar
themselves, that the business of men in
leading situations were less than it is, so
that their leisure might be something
more. The present state of the profession
allows no time, as a liberal profession
ought, for the general cultivation and im-
provement of the mind-nor for keeping
lp with the common current of society-
nor for needful exercise and rest. That
ib not a state of things in which it is de-
girable that the members of such a pro-
fession should be placed ; and it was a
itate which the simultaneous sitting of
three courts must ne.:es.sarily put an end
to by obliging the bat to divide; the
counsel no longer straining to attend
several courts, but each attending only one
original court, and the appellate tribunals
of the lord Chancellor. Under these
favourable circumstances, with the devo-
tion of so much more judicial time, and
with the undivided attention of the bar, it
might not be impossible that the courts of
the Vice-chancellor, the Rolls, and what
had been the Exchequer, would be able to
keep down the business both of Equity
and of Bankruptcy.
With respect to the expense of an addi-
tional Equity judge, he thought such a
judge might be constituted not only
without expense, but with a saving to the
public on its present outlay, and with a
due regard to the connexion of Bankruptcy
and Equity; and he would propose to do
that by some modification of the present
mode of working the commissions of bank-
rupt in the country. The House were
probably not aware, that the commission-
ers of bankrupts, who in London are a fixed
body, are named in the country upon each
commission, by the selection of the solici-
tor who sues it out. The tribunals of the
London as well as of the country commis-
sioners had many defects, which this was not
the proper occasion te deal with ; but the
business of the country commissioners, as
might naturally be expected from persons
not habituated to the duty, and taking it
only by a casual nomination, was much
more imperfectly executed than the busi-
ness of the commissioners in London. At
the same time, the number of commissions
worked in the country was considerably
greater than the number of those worked
ia London; and thus the greater number
were the worse administered, Froti Which


state of things it resulted, that the larger
proportion of the petitions presented in
bankruptcy, and which were now heard by
the Vice-chancellor, arose out of bdun-
try commissions. Now, as the number of
country commissions appeared, from the
official returns which ended October,
1826, to have been, on an average, seven
hundred and nine in each of the ten years
preceding that date the fees of the coun-
try commissioners, taken at 161. or 171.
for each of the three working commission-
ers in each commission, will have amounted
to about 35,6001. a year for every one of
those ten years i-a great sum and greatly
mis-spent. Eleven permanent lists of
competent commissioners in the country,
having fixed salaries at an average of 3001.
a year, and being placed at nearly equal
distances, would do the business with much
more experience and responsibility, and
would cost the country but 10,5001.,
which would give, as compared with the
present plan, a saving to 19,0001. a year.
Out of this saving it was that he would
propose the appointment of a new judge
in Equity instead of the present Exchequer
gourt, whose primary duty should be to
hear petitions, and applications arising
out of bankruptcy. For this purpose that
judge should sit on the Monday, and so
on from day to day in each week, until he
had despatched all the bankrupt business
then ripe for determination, which would
probably occupy the Monday and Tuesday
in every week. The remainder of his
time he should devote to the dispatch of
the general Equity business of the Great
Seal, and an appeal should lie from him
to the lord Chancellor.
It was in some such mode as this that
he apprehended it would be best to afford
such relief as could be connected with the
business of bankruptcy, and not by any
attempt to separate bankruptcy from the
Great Seal. But whatever (continued
the hon. gentleman) may be the course
which shall seem best to the wisdom of
the legislature, I trust that parliament
will never sanction the opinion of those
who would persuade us that a benefit'ouild
be effected to the public by the saving of
time which would be gained from what
they call the separation of the political
from the legal functions of the Chancellor.
If it were practically as true as it is un-
true, that the Charcellor, by divestftn'
himself of his character as a mtiister and
Speaker of the Houso of Lords, would


76 HOUSP OF COMMONS,








gain sufficient time to reduce and keep lawyers, from the loss of the reflected light
down the arrears of his court, still, upon which so illustrious a prize, peculiar to
general constitutional grounds, there would their vocation, diffuses over their whole
be the most insurmountable objection to body. It would not, indeed, be difficult
the severance. Would the lord Chancel- to show, how the suitors, for whose sake
lor, or would he not, be relieved from the alone the professors of the law can chal-
task of hearing appeals in the House of lenge any privilege, would suffer by lower-
Lords, the heaviest part of his duty, and ing the tone and general feeling of thebar
that which engrosses by far the greatest from the pursuit of dignities and honours,
part of his judicial time out of Chancery? to the pursuit of mere pecuniary gain.
If he should not be relieved from that But I pass over this consideration, because
task, you will fail in your object of trans- the other, which I have glanced at before,
ferring or restoring to the court of seems to me to be of itself conclusive of
Chancery, the greatest part of his judi- the whole argument-I mean the constitu-
cial time, now abstracted from it. If tional necessity of keeping open for all the
he would be relieved from that task, you people of the realm, whatever be the rank,
must appoint some other lawyer in his the origin, the connexion, of the individual,
stead, not as occasional or deputy Speaker, a path by which eminent talents, united
but as permanent Speaker of the House with industry and character, may rise not
of Lords, to hear the appeals there, only to a level with their country's nobi-
But what lawyer shall it be? Shall it be lity, but to the very head of it. Why is it
no longer the lord Chancellor ?-no longer that the aristocraticalbranch ofthe constitu-
the individual whom the union of legal tion, even in this day of general search and
with other considerations points out as the reform, is propped and cherished by the
fittest individual to preside over the law common consent of the people? Because
and constitution of the country-to be the it is the offspring of the people-because
paramount authority on the whole range it has its growth from them-because
of legal and constitutional learning-shall it spreads its roots among them:-
the judicial duties of that fittest and ablest Ergo non hiemes illam, non flabra, neque imbres,
man be limited to the particular subdivi- Convellunt; immota manet: multosque nepotes,
sion of law which is administered, under Multa virum volvens durando secula vincit."
the title of Chancery, in Lincoln's-inn- Sir, I have only further to add, that,
hall-and shall some other, somesecondary with the exception of this one unconstitu-
lawyer, be exalted to the presidency of tional innovation, the severance of the
the House of Lords, to be the organ of political from the legal character of the
that pre-eminent judicature, the moderator lord Chancellor, I shall look at any other
of the British peerage, the foremost layman proposition of relief with the sincerest good-
after the royal blood ? I hardly need ask, will, and with the most earnest wish for
whether a choice like this would befit the its success: the more especially, because I
most august assembly of the realm. Or, am convinced, that upon the degree of
suppose that, instead of a lawyer, whether satisfaction which the public receive from
of the first or of the second order of talent the administration of justice by the supe-
and attainment, you assign the high rank rior courts, and upon the proportionate
and great office of Speaker of the House respect accruing to the judges and to the
of Lords to political interest, or the influ- law, will depend also that estimation and
ence of family ? Sir, I may be mistaken; honour which, far beyond all considera-
but, at least, I speak deliberately and sin- tions of emolument, give weight and pride
cerely, when I say, that if the question and value, to my own profession of the bar.
were, in what manner most effectually to The Attorney-general said, that after
undermine the nobility of the land, and the observations with which his hon. friend
the prerogative of the Crown, and with had introduced the present motion, he
these, the whole constitution of the coun- could not consider it in any other light
try, I can imagine no step more condu- than as a motion to propose the appoint-
cive, as a firstmovement, toward that mis- ment of a fourth judge to carry on the
chief, than to transfer this great reward business which now came before our courts
from the nation at large, every one of of Equity. He was well aware that the
whose sons now has it open before him, to motion did not involve that proposition in
the few possessors of hereditary title. I terms, but he conceived it to be impossible
speak not now of the disparagement to for any man to deny that it did involve it


77 Delays in the (!ou'rt of C~hahecery.


AIMIL 24, 1828. is-





79 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


in substance. Now, if he had conscien-
tiously made up his mind to consider the
appointment of a fourth judge in Equity
necessary, he should have no hesitation in
publicly saying so. But he had not made
up his mind to any such conclusion; and
he thought that enough had been said, in
the course of the discussion, to restrain the
House from affirming such a conclusion
by its vote of that night. For, if a fourth
judge were to be appointed, where would
hon. gentlemen place him? One hon.
gentleman had told the House that he
must be placed in the court of Exchequer,
and must take, not only that part of the
Equity business which was at present
decided there by the Chief Baron, but also
much of that Equity business which was at
present transacted in the different tribunals
belonging to the court of Chancery:
another hon. gentleman had set his face
against that project, and had declared that
he would oppose it to the utmost of his
ability : a third hon. gentleman had told
them, that he would separate the jurisdic-
tion in bankruptcy from the great seal, and
would transfer it to a separate and inde-
pendent judge,: and a fourth told them,
that it would be impolitic to destroy the
jurisdiction of the courts of Equity over
matters in bankruptcy, since it was for the
benefit of the suitor that there should
always be an appeal to the Great Seal, from
the tribunal which first decided on ques-
tions of bankruptcy. Other gentlemen
had proposed to separate other parts of its
jurisdiction from the court of Chancery ;
and his hon. and learned friend, who had
made a long speech, but he did not mean
too long a speech, would carve from it the
chief part of that which now constituted
its principal jurisdiction. There were thus
four or five, or even six, different plans
proposed for the remedy of the mischief
and the inconvenience which it was said
the Court of Chancery inflicted upon the
country. It was notorious, too, that his
majesty's government had also taken this
question into consideration, and had been
busily engaged in devising means for
amending such parts of the present sys3
tem as at the present moment appeared to
be defective. His hon. friend-whose exer-
tions on this subject he willingly admitted,
and whose perseverance in attempting to
frame expedients for its improvement he
could not blame,-would permit him to
say that, though he had now proposed a
notion which affirmed that a fourth judge


in Chancery was necessary, he had not
followed up his motion by stating when
and how that fourth judge was to be
appointed. Many gentlemen in West-
minster-hall had said, that he ought to be
appointed by dividing the jurisdiction of
the lord chief baron in the court of Ex-
chequer, and by making one lord chief
baron to preside over the common-law
court of Exchequer, and another to pre-
side over the Equity court of it. He must,
however, object to that plan in toto. His
hon. friend would make a fourth judge in
another way : and what was it ? By sepa-
rating bankruptcy, in some degree, from
the jurisdiction of he Great Seal; but no
sooner was that proposition made, than up
rose others to meet it with the most
decided hostility. Under these circum-
stances, he would ask, why should the
House be induced by his hon. friend to
affirm an abstract resolution, which no one
was ready to follow up by any practical
measure of improvement. There was an
inexpediency in such a course, which he,
for one, could never sanction. If his
opinion on this question should be asked,
he would give it with that candour and
fairness which its importance required. It
was only twelve years since the court of
Chancery received a third judge, under the
title of the Vice-chancellor. Many gentle-
men would recollect, that when that pro-
ject was first introduced to the notice of
parliament, it was asserted that a third
judge was not wanted. It was said, that
all the evils which beset the suitors in
Chancery arose from the personal delays
of lord Eldon; that two judges were suffi-
cient to transact the ordinary business of
the court, and moreover that three were
not wanted to keep down its arrears. He
would undertake to say, that no proposition
was ever more keenly contested than that
for the appointment of a third judge in the
courts of Equity. Only twelve years had
elapsed since that contest, and now it was
asserted, not that a third, but that a fourth
judge was wanted. Now, if he were con-
vinced that the business in Chancery could
not be properly conducted without the
assistance of a fourth judge, he would say
so frankly. He had heard it said by many
gentlemen, that relief must be given to the
Great Seal ; but he had not heard a word
said by any of them as to the mode in
which it was to be given. The hon. mover
had said, that by and by he would bring
the whole subject of the business trans-


Delays in the Court of Chancery.






81 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


acted in the court of Chancery under the
discussion of parliament. He only wished
that his hon. friend had brought forward,
on the present occasion, all the proposi-
tions which he intended to make regarding
it. He would not conceal from the House
that it was his opinion that the court of
Chancery stood at present in need of
relief; but he had not made up his opinion,
that the relief which his hon, friend wished
to administer was either useful or expedi-
ent. He could not, after an experience
of twenty-five years in the court of Chan-
cery, conscientiously say that a fourth
judge was necessary to transact the busi-
ness which came before it; and therefore
he could not accede to a motion, which
substantially, if not in terms, called upon
the House to appoint such fourth judge
without further delay. Under all the cir-
cumstances of this case, considering that
it was already under the consideration of
government, and that the bench and the
bar had both applied their attention to it,-
considering, likewise, that they knew that
both the government and the profession of
the law entertained a friendly disposition
to it, and were mutually striving to miti-
gate the mischief of the system,-why, he
would ask, was the House to be driven
precipitately to a vote, which, when agreed
to, could not be followed up without the
greatest difficulty? Instead of coming
down post-haste to affirm a hasty resolu-
tion, we ought to wait with patience till a
remedy was discovered for abating the
grievances complained of. Would any
gentleman come forward and say, I have
considered the nature of the grievances,
and I have, after mature deliberation, found
out a certain cure for them?" If any
gentleman was prepared to make such a
statement, he would assure that gentleman
that he would give to his plan, the most
earnest and studious deliberation in his
power. For his own part, he would freely
declare, that he could not concur in the
opinion which a learned gentleman had
delivered a year ago, in a form of expres-
sion more remarkable for its metaphorical
extravagance than for its sober truth,-he
meant, that three angels could not properly
transact the business of Chancery. On
the contrary, he was of opinion, that ex-
pedients might be contrived, whereby, with
three judges, the business of the court of
Chancery might be transacted, and its
arrears kept down. No one would venture
to affirm that a fourth judge ought to be


appointed, if a fourth judge was not neces-
sary. If the necessity for a fourth judge
could be established, then it followed as a
natural corollary that a fourth judge ought
to be appointed. After giving to the
subject mature and repeated deliberation,
he could not assert that the first proposi-
tion was true, and therefore he could not
consent to the corollary, and must there-
fore meet the proposition with a decided
negative.
Mr. D. W. Harvey observed, that the
learned member spoke of the grievances
of the court as if they were only in their
infancy, and scarcely discernible to any
but persons of curious vision, who delighted
in hunting up imaginary ills, on which
to exercise a distorted fancy; that the
people did not complain, for they had no
cause for it. But he contended that the
hon. and learned member was himself a
daily memorial-an hourly witness, of the
glaring defects of that court, and largely
thrived by their existence. It was not,
therefore, his interest to remedy a system
on whose abuses he fattened-and so long
as the opinions of lawyers were to sway the
decision of parliament would those griev-
ances exist, for with them abuse and pro-
fit, were synonymous terms; and if they
were not the authors, they were at least
the eulogists of the system [loud cheers.]
The hon. member for Wotton Basset had
treated the subject with great ability, yet
he (Mr. Harvey) would have been better
pleased if the proposition for the increase
of judges had proceeded from an hon.
member whose professional avocations did
not expose him to the suspicion of con-
sulting private rather than public objects.
But he contended an increase of judges
would be an increase of unnecessary ex-
pense. Simplify the laws and despatch
must follow-and a decrease of judges
rather than an increase would be the bene-
ficial result. We heard much of improve-
ments in the law, and of a disposition to
extend them. But where was the evi-
dence of it? Ministers substituted useless
change for solid reformation, and touched
nothing which simplified the laws or less-
ened their expenses. The Attorney-gene-
ral had said it was the duty of those who
advocated improvements to suggest them.
This he denied. For what purpose had
we an Attorney-general at an enormous
expense to the country ? For what pur-
pose had we a government, which cost
hundreds of thousands of pounds annually,


APRIL 24, 1828. 82






83 HOUSE OF COMMbNS,


unless they proposed those measures
Which the intelligence and character of
the dotntry demanded? The wili to do
good was hot sufficient-there must bb an
uilion of Will aiid power, and this the
govOiriment alone possessed ; and on them,
therefore, devolved the obligation of watch-
ing the progress of decay, and of applying
efficient remedies. Delay was far from
being the most conspicuous evil ; it might,
indeed, be deemed a benefit, for it defer-
red injustice. The whole system required
tegeneration. Our laws were complicated
atid uniitelligible-sealed to the vulgar
eye, and hardly known to the lawyer.
Scandalous pleadings entangled the claims
of honesty, and gave security to fraud;
while the ruinous costs of the law made
poverty a blessing. The pdor man alone
wa allowed to pass unheeded and unplun-
deired The whole was a systemby which
lawyers flourished ind suitors decayed,
a id formed ani opprobrium with all civi-
lized nations. He (Mr. H.) held in his
harids the bill of dosts in a cause in which
his hiajesty's Attorney-general was plain-
tiff. It was an information filed by that
leoriid offibei Against the trustees of the
Highgate Charity, for an account of its
futids ard the mode of their application.
Oteat abuses were suspected to exist in
this chariy, as they did in others; and
same spitifed and independent individuals
stepped forward to rescue the charity from
it misapplication. The sequel con-
firmed thbir suspicion; and yet, would
the House believe it, the costs of the
sudcessftl party exceeded 3,0001.! And
yet we were told the laws were equal
atid ecoribniibal, and s they would be al-
ways considered, while lawyers were al-
IdW d tO be their interpreters. This bill
of cbsts was worth inspection. He ob-
served an office copy of the information
wad chargtid 801.; and the fee given to the
leading counsel to peruse it was 881. 4s.,
ahd tb the second 661. Was this then a
system to be tolerated ? Wasthis a court
to be protected from inquiry, ard eulo-
gised by crwri lawyers and aspiring b1i'-
risters as a specimen of matchless perfec-
tion arid parity? He would repeat, no
efficient inquiry had ever been made into
the composition of the court of Chancery,
and hi was fearful there never would be.
Nothing effectual could be done except
justice werb simplified and rendered so
ecohiomical that it should be applicable to
all. The learned Attorney-general would


riot concur in any plan which as riot
nicely balanced and proportioned to the
subtleties of the existing system; and per-
haps no plan could be devised which his
keeti ingenuity arid subtle penetration
would not be able to expose, not only as
inapplicable and unfit, but ludicroils arid
absurd. On whom should the duty of
finding a remedy for the existing evil de-
volve? For what purpose had they a
government, or dignitaries of the law, if
not to place justice ofi a faith foundation ?
The hor. metiber proceeded to argue against
the propriety of allowing a jurisdiction in
cases of bankruptcy to remain in the hands
of the lord Chancellor. It was a jurisdic-
tion, to administer which, in nine cases
out of ten, every merchant of the city of
London was more capable than the com-
missioners of bankrupts, because, gen rally
speaking, it involved questions solely of a
commercial nature. Commissioners of
bankrupts were either yoting and bhief-
less barristers, or men who had growth
old in makirig the dreary round of
the courts without obtaining employment.
In either case the 3001. a-year attached
to the office was eagerly seized, and com-
missioners of bankrupts, were fashioned
out of the infancy or superannuation of the
profession. Having contrasted the supe-
rior efficiency and cheapness of the ri-
solvent with the bankrupt laws, the hon.
gentleman went on to describe the bank-
rupt jurisdiction, at present vested in the
Court of Chancery, as affording support
to a colony of professional dependents,
and pointed to this circumstance as the
only satisfactory reason for the reluctance
felt by government to sever bankruptcy
cases from the Great Seal. The Court of
Chancery was so clogged and loaded with
abuses that it had almost ceased to be an
individual execration, and had become a
public nuisance. He was surprised no al-
lusion had been as yet made to a little
volume lately put forth fiom the Court of
Chancery, and containing, eighty-one
orders for its regulation. Perhaps some
half-dozen of these orders might be bene-
ficial; but, take them as a whole,, aid
they must operate as a costly fallacy.
As he had no disposition to exaggerate
their defects, neither had he aiy desire to
conceal their merits. If these orders,, in-
stead of having proceeded from the high
legal authority whence they had origin-
ated, had been framed by some knot of
briefless junior barristers, pining fat em-


DelIays in the Court of3 Chancery.







85 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


ploymient, and eager, by whatever means,
to obtain it, he should have pronounced it
impossible for any scheme to be devised
better calculated to insure success, or any
stratagem to have been resorted to more
deserving of contempt. Every rule was
an order, every order a motion, and both
a fee. It was the ill fortune of every man
who ever had any thing to do with the
Court of Chancery to be aware of its de-
fects. There was not a gentleman in the
House, and scarcely a man in the country,
who, if not in his own person, yet in be-
half of somebody else for whom he was
interested, but had acquired this informa-
tion from dear purchased experience.
It would be a waste of time to say any
thing to establish the proposition that our
Chancery system was monstrously hideous
and deformed as it regarded the principles
of law-odious for its tardiness-dangerous
for its uncertainty-ruinous in point of the
expense generally speaking, unequal,
cruel, and oppressive, ii its operation-
a source of profligate private fortune, and
an unmitigated public curse.
Mr. Sugden said, it was not without
feelings of great surprise that he had heard
the hon. member for Colchester speak of
the Court of Chancery in the terms he had
done, and go so far as to describe it as a
public curse"; but that surprise was
greatly increased when he heard gentle-
men possessing property in the country,
and who, from their station and rank in
life, must be supposed to be, in some de-
gree, acquainted with the Court of Chan-
cery, unite in cheering the hon. member's
expression so loudly. If he thought that
expression of disapprobation applicable to
the Court of Chancery, he would quit
that Court instanter; but he would say, in
the face of the country, that the Court of
Chancery was not open to the imputations
cast upon it: and while it existed as a
court of justice, those only who were
anxious to prodiie disorder in the admi-
nistration of justice, would speak of it in
such terms of disapprobation within the
walls of that House. Such ought not to
be the case-a court which had conferred
so many important benefits on the country
ought not to be exposed to public odium
[cheers and laughter]. Gentlemen might
cheer on ; and though, as he was not ac-
customed to speak in that House, those
cheers might now daunt him, but he hoped
the time would come when, unawed by
them, he should be able to address the


House with more effect, and obtain a hear-
ing without interruption. If gentlemen
would inquire, they would discover that
those who found fault with the Court of
Chancery consisted chiefly of fraudulent
trustees, or-[cries of no, no,]--He hoped
no gentleman would think he alluded to
him, or to any within those walls: but no
man knew better than he did, the nature
of the causes in that court; and he would
repeat that the most discontented suitors
were persons of very doubtful character;
and it was by such persons that the vitu-
perations uttered in that House were
echoed out of doors. It was in the very
nature of the jurisdiction of the Court of
Chancery to prevent dispatch. A court
of law could decide one action at a time,
and at once, and leave the parties to bring
another action on another point, but when
the Court of Equity decided a case, it
decided that case finally and for ever; and,
therefore, it was necessary to bring all the
parties before the court. Then, the nature
of the cases consisted of long atid intricate
accounts-of dark frauds which took a
long time to examine and unravel. It was
impossible for a human tribunal to deal
with them otherwise than by long con-
sideration. He would contend that it was
impossible to put down the jurisdiction of
the Court of Equity. If it were once put
down, the gentlemen opposite, on suffering
loss through fraudulent accounts from a
steward or trustee, would be the first to
call for its revival: and that jurisdiction
over accounts it was impossible to admi-
nister in a short space of time. As to the
long interval said to occur between the
setting down of a cause for hearing, and
the time of hearing, he did not believe the
representation correct. He held accounts
in his hand of the quantity of business
done in the branch of Equity for the last
three years, and the House would find,
that the despatch was such as rendered it
unnecessary for them to interfere with the
Court of Chancery. The Master of the
Rolls and the Vice-chanctlior had decided
one thousand and twenty-two causes in the
year 1826. The reason why they did not
despatch as great a number in the last two
years was, because there had been two
Vice-chancellors appointed within that
space, and it required some time after a
judge was appointed before he could be
so completely master of the business of his
court as to use the ordinary despatch,
It was not correct, as had been stated by


APRIL f14, 1828. 86






87 HOUSE OF COMMONS, Delays in the Court of Chancery.


the hon. member for Wotton Basset, that
a year, or seven terms, passed between the
setting down of a cause and the hearing.
In 1827, the Master of the Rolls disposed
of five hundred and forty causes, and in
the Hilary Term of the present year one
hundred and forty-seven causes, besides
eighty-one further directions. Thus the
Master of the Rolls had gone through his
business in a time incredibly short so
rapidly as to leave time on his hands for
hearing those causes which might be taken
to him from the Vice-chancellor's court.
The great evil, namely, the delay which was
now complained of, would, he was per-
suaded, soon cease to exist.-The govern-
ment had been blamed for the state of the
Court of Chancery; but they did not de-
serve that censure, for they had many
months back proved, by their readiness to
grant a commission, their wish to afford
assistance to the suitors in Chancery.
But there was a great difference between
instituting an inquiry into complaints, and
adopting the sweeping resolution now be-
fore the House. The proposed measure
would shackle the efforts of government;
and on that ground he should oppose it.
Surely the time for making that charge
against government was rather ill chosen,
just after they had appointed a commis-
sion of inquiry into the laws relating to
property. Even so early as 1813, they
had given assistance to the judicial part of
the Court of Chancery by appointing an ad-
ditional judge-the Vice-chancellor; and,
as to any further increase in the number
of the judges, there was no necessity for
such increase.
The business of the court was, in fact,
more rapidly finished than was generally
imagined ; for any suitor, really disposed
to go on with a good cause, could at pre-
sent, from the manner in which the affairs
of the court were conducted, proceed with
reasonable despatch to the conclusion of
his suit. He was not one of those who
looked with satisfaction at the increase of
the number of judges as a remedy; for he
could only see in it increased patronage,
and useless expense. As to the patronage
exercised by the lord chancellor Eldon,
he could-and quite independently, for
he had never sought patronage-declare it
to have been fairly and evenly given, with
reference to merits alone. The great ob-
ject of lord Eldon in making appointments,
was to look round the bar and pick out
the most worthy. The lord Chancellor


alone, however, had not been reviled : the
court itself had been held up as a curse,
and as calculated only to encourage delay
and protract judgment. Now, he was
ready to say, that a suit could be as
quickly decided in the Court of Chancery
as in a court of law. It was always ne-
cessary, however, to bear in mind, that the
nature of the cases brought before these
courts was of a very different description;
and that the delay in the Court of Chan-
cery arose more from this cause than from
any other. It had been said that no de-
cision of the Court of Chancery was final.
This was not so : if there was no ground
to support the first bill it was dismissed at
once, and the litigation put an end to.-
He never would consent to sever the
bankruptcy business from the Court of
Chancery: it would be most unsafe to
place the important and intricate business
of bankruptcy in any court but the very
highest. The shocking cases of false
swearing on affidavits, with which bank-
rupt cases abounded, required the control
of the most powerful tribunal. He knew
an instance in which a man swore to an
act of bankrupt having been committed
by a farmer in Kent; the deponent de-
claring that he had heard the individual
call out to his daughter, Here is such a
person, say I am out." Upon an affidavit
of this circumstance, the commission was
sued out against the farmer, yet, upon the
full bearing of the case, it was demon-
strated, that no such occurrence could
have taken place, from the clear way in
which the individual had shown how he
was occupied. There were several cases
of this kind, and it was quite clear that
bankruptcy jurisdiction required the nicest
discrimination, and the calmest investiga-
tion.-As to what the hon. member had
said with respect to the Insolvent Debtors'
Court, he would merely observe that the
whole aggregate of the dividends there did
not amount to a farthing in the pound.
Could that, then, with any propriety, be
assimilated to the bankruptcy jurisdiction ?
In reference to the bar itself, he might
assume, without fear of incurring the im-
putation of self-interested flattery, that it
had always been a high-minded honour-
able body, and never more so than now.
Indeed, if the profession had a fault, it
was an over-anxiety to reform the law.
It would be well to remember, that if any
great change in the administration of jus-
tice were effected, the present lawyers-






89 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


much as they were charged with obstruct-
ing reformation-must be individually
gainers by the event. After any great al-
teration should be made in the courts of
justice, a long time must elapse before
new proceedings could be fully understood,
and litigation must proportionably increase.
It was therefore the interest of the profes-
sion that such a change should be pro-
duced. Let men of property look to it;
for they, and not the lawyers, would prove
the sufferers eventually. He, as a man
who had the welfare of his country at
heart, was decidedly averse to a system
which he could not but look upon with
alarm, as being little less than revolutionary
[a laugh]. Quite willing, as he professed
himself, to support any measure which
he thought beneficial to the public, yet,
though an humble individual, he would
strenuously oppose himself to schemes
which he must again call revolutionary,
and striking at the root of the happy
system of laws under which the country
had flourished for ages.
Mr. Baring apologized to the House
for addressing it on a subject which he
was little acquainted with, and requiring
so much practical knowledge to under-
stand. Yet, as the hon. and learned gen-
tleman had appealed to the working of the
laws, all were competent to judge of that
part of the question, without the aid of a
professional education. In addition to
daily experience, which sufficiently con-
futed the hon. and learned member, he
would mention a particular fact which
had come not long ago under his personal
observation. A case relating to commer-
cial accounts, which involved no less a
sum than 150,0001., had been entered in
the Court of Chancery in the year 1795.
There did it remain, hanging on from year
to year, for thirty years, although both
parties were sincerely desirous of having
it terminated. To aggravate these vex-
atipus delays, the individuals themselves
were meanwhile in a state of the most
miserable indigence. They actually sub-
sisted on charity, more particularly on the
bounty of an hon. member in that House,
and at a time when this sum of 150,0001.
was locked up in the Accountant-general's
office. They were each unquestionably en-
titled to a dividend of 12,0001., although
reduced to dependence on the munificence
of others. Their solicitor, on being applied
to in 1825, stated, that the decision of the
case must still be very precarious. Many of


the persons interested had died, and what-
ever should be the judgment of the chan-
cellor, some quibble might arise to inter-
fere with the course of justice. The other
solicitor said, that he had been most de-
sirous, all his life, to have the case brought
to a speedy decision, and proposed that
it should be referred to his (Mr. Baring's)
arbitration the next day. To this suggestion
he consented, after his friend, Mr. John
Smith, had been prevailed on to share the
responsibility with him. The result was,
that they decided satisfactorily for all
parties in two days, devoting an hour and
a half each day to the examination of the
case. While this sum of 150,0001. was
lying in the Court of Chancery, these
suitors were literally wanting bread; some
of them were aged widows, to whom it
was not of the remotest importance that
they should wait twenty or thirty years
more, in order to have some subtle point
of law decided, in which, perhaps, the
hon. and learned gentleman opposite
would have delighted, as it would seem
resplendent with abstract beauty to his
mind. While this litigation was swallow-
ing up the funds in dispute, the wretched
suitors were living in a state of absolute
want. His hon. friend the member for
Midhurst, could confirm every part of his
statement. He imputed no blame to any
person; but this was a state of things
which must excite the feelings of every
man in the country. He believed that
the late chancellor, lord Eldon, was a very
conscientious and honourable person.
There was no doubt he had administered
justice in the Court of Chancery in the
most perfect manner. But the system
seemed to him essentially bad : it endea-
voured to attain a perfection and nicety
which were not practicable. The best re-
medy, he thought, would consist of some
mode of applying the system of arbitra-,
tion. He did not presume to suggest any
remedy; for he knew he was little quali-
fied to give advice on this subject. But
he could not help saying again, that the
essential defect of our system of Equity
seemed to be, that it strained at a degree
of perfection which was not attainable, by
the very delay that arose in the pursuit of
it. The decision frequently turned at last
on some points in litigation, which were
never contemplated by the parties as
matters in dispute. Some subtle lawyer,
in the progress of the case, found out a
point which could not have been antici.


APRIL 24, 1828. 90





91 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
pated, and the suit ended differently from
the expectations of every body concerned
is it, When he and his hon, friend came
to their decision, and made their decree,
they troubled themselves very little as to
the opinions of lord Hardwicke, or any of
the great Equity judges. They looked
qnly at the common sense of the question.
There was a circumstance in the latter
part of the case which was rather singular.
When the parties had obtained their
papers out of the Court of Chancery, they
fonnd a pencil-written query on the margin
of one of these papers, to this effect-
Has not this case been decided long
ago," This note showed no want of
proper feeling on the part of the judge ;
but it showed that it was impossible as
the court stood, for the judge to get
through the business and attend to what
w as sing He had not the presurmp-
tion to suppose that he could suggest any
remedy for these evils; but, without being
learned in the law, it was within the ob-
servatiqn of all persons, that nothing could
be more ruinus or unjust than the mode
of deciding (qeiltions of property in the
Courts of Equity. As they were now ex-
isting, he knew they were the objects of
admiration and praise with the lawyers;
hbt, as for the suitors, there wr no prc-
tical means of obtaining justice in a rea-
sonable time; and when they did obtain
it, it was frequently at the expense of half
the property. If any traveller were to
comp from a remote part of the world-
from China for example-for the purpose
of making inquiry into the state of the
legal institutions in this country-which
was called, and not unjustly, the most
civilized community in the world-in order
that he might make a report to the go-
vernment to which he belonged of the
state of the law, and of the expense and
delay in the courts of justice in deciding
questions of property, a faithful statement
of the truth would make our practice,
from its over refinement, seem to be that
of the most barbarous people among whom
law could be conceived to exist. A case
had been lately mentioned in the news-
papers-one of the last of those decided
by the late chancellor-which illustrated
his remark. A nobleman, it appeared,
had appropriated 50,0001. in consequence
of some proceedings before the lord Chan-
cellor, to pay the expenses of determining
whether he was sane or not. What
would a man fra the other side of the


Del ays in the Court pf Chancery. z
world say to sqch a fact as this ? Here
was a person of large propErt), certainly;
but to decide whether or not he was in
his senses, a cost of 50,OQ01. was incurred.
Feeling in common with the rest of the
country, that some remedy was necessary
for these evils, it was his duty to pall the
attention of mipiisters to the subject. He
had great respect for the members of the
legal profession. He agreed, that thelawyerg
of this country included as great a niamber
of independent and honomuable men as in
any profession in the world. But still he
firmly believed, that, as long as the reform
of the law was left in their hands, the
public would never succeed in obtaining
effectual relief. He did not know in what
hands the Secretary of State for the HPoe
Department had placed the inquiry ipto
the state of the Common-law; but he
hoped it would not be solely confided to
lawyers; for such was the natural preju-
dice of the learned gentlemen for the
secrets they had been all their lives study-
ing, that they attached a jach greater
value to them than they really deserved.
In some individuals, he was aware a less
amiable feeling prevailed, which produced
the same consequences. He had never
seen any commission of lawyers which had
done any good in the reform of the law,
though there had been searching inquiries
enough into other branches of the institu-
tions of the country; but whenever go-
vernment had attempted to touch the
abuses of the law, they had been resisted
by a power which they were not able to
overcome.
Mlr. Secretary Peel felt that he owed
the same apology to the House as had
been made by the hon, gentleman for
venturing to enter into a question of this
nature, involving so many matters of a
professional nature, having neither the
education nor the experience that would
qualify him to discuss it fully; but he had
an additional disadvantage, or perhaps he
might call it an advantage-that he had
not had any practical acquaintance with the
court of Chancery. The hon. member
for Cqlchester had seemed to consider
that some peculiar uspoinsibiliLv devolved
on him (Mr. Peel) on account ot the state
of the court of Chancery. But it must be
evident to the House, that it was attexly
impossible that he, without any prfessienal
knowledge or experience, could undertake
himself to reform that court. He cl4
only admit that he had44 a e o f t9 t






93 Delays in the 0ourt of Chancery.


responsibility, if he had obstructed any
inquiry for which sufficient ground had
been laid, or if he had refused his assent
to any measure, with that view, for which
a strong and overwhelming necessity had
been shewn. He denied the charge wholly.
He had never withheld his assistance in
the reform of that, or of any branch of the
law. He trusted, that in the course of the
present session, he had given proof that
he was not indisposed to lend his co-opera-
tion in any amendment of the law, and he
would still further shew his feeling when
the inquiry was completed. The hon.
gentleman who spoke last, had referred
particularly to those commissions which
had been issued immediately on his
(Mr. Peel's) suggestion, butprincipally on
that of the learned gentleman opposite
(Mr. Brougham), and the hon. gentleman
had cautioned him against placing persons
on them, who, from their professional
prejudices, would be disinclined to lend
their aid to useful reforms. He assured
that hon. gentleman, that the appointment
of those commissions had engaged his
most serious attention. One of the com-
missions, that for inquiring into the prac-
tice of the Courts of Common-law, was
now completed; and he was ready to give
every information as to the terms of it, or
the persons of whom it was composed.
He assured the House, that in selecting
the commissioners, he had not been swayed
by any personal predilections or partialities.
He had not the slightest acquaintance
with one of them. Not one of them had
applied to him to be appointed. He had
conferred no favour on them; for he had
to solicit them to take on themselves the
office. He had named them, because, in
his honest conviction, they were the per-
sons best qualified for the performance of
the duty. The hon. gentleman had cau-
tioned him against appointing lawyers on
these commissions; but how was it possible
to conduct an inquiry into a matter purely
technical, if the lawyers were altogether
excluded? It was of very great import-
ance that the confidence of the public
should be reposed in these commissions.
The names would show that it was im-
possible he could have appointed them
with a yiew to their parliamentary services.
He really did not know the political feel-
ings of any one of them. Nobody included
in the commission was connected with
office. It was limited to five persons, and
whoever heard their names would recognize


them as engaged in almost the first practice
of their profession. Still they had under-
taken it, with a determination to discharge
their duty zealously. The country, there,
fore, had as strong a security as it could
possibly have before-hand in the character
of the commissioners. The other com-
mission was equally important -that to
inquire into the law relating to the transfer
of real property. The first was completed,
and the other would be completed as early
as possible, with reference to the persons
who were to compose it.-With respect to
the present question, he would not enter
into any details of particular cases. He
would only apply to the consideration of
it on those general principles, which, with-
out any professional experience, he might
apply. He should take an intermediate
view between those which had been stated
in the course of the debate that evening.
He would not admit the justice of the
unqualified terms of reprobation which
the hon. member for Colchester had ap-
plied to the court of highest jurisdiction
in this country. He was sure that his
hon. friend who brought forward the
motion did not wish its character to be
taken from that speech. In the motion
he did not concur; but still less did he
concur in the terms of obloquy in which
the court of Chancery and its judges had
been attacked, as well as the members of
the legal profession generally. He would
leave it to some of them to vindicate the
honourable profession to which they be-
longed; as he had no doubt they would do
triumphantly. In the course of his inquiry
into the Criminal-law, he had had some
intercourse with them, and he could bear
testimony to the disinterested co-operation
they had given him. He could not agree
with his learned friend (Mr. Sugden), that
no remedy could be effectually applied to
the defects of the law. He thought that
alterations might be made, after deliberate
inquiry, which would be very important in
their results. These alterations would be
in the practice of the courts: their object
would be to make the decisions more
speedy, and to lessen the expenses of the
suits. There was a great deal of truth in
the observation of his learned friend, that
changes precipitately made, led in their
consequences to more litigation, by
unsettling the decisions, and, instead of
diminishing the expenses, increasing them,
by rendering the law more uncertain. The
proposition of his hon. friend was not for


APRISL 24, .1828. 94






95 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
any inquiry of a specific nature, but
generally without pointing out what,
that there should be something done. It
was an abstract proposition, without any
particular measure. It was a compendious
expedient to pronounce that something
should be done, but it gave no notion of
the measures to be introduced. His hon.
friend had stated, that in a short time he
intended to enter more deeply into the
subject, when he would make known what
specific measure he would propose as a
remedy for the evils of the court of
Chancery. If that was his intention, he
would rather wait till his hon. friend would
enter at large into the subject. Instead of
acting on his hasty and superficial view,
he would prefer to hear his whole and
mature proposition. He trusted, there-
fore, that his hon. friend would consent to
withdraw his motion, and not call on the
House for any opinion on so loose and
indefinite a motion as the present. When
he was able to explain specifically what
remedy he intended to apply, it would be
time enough for the House to interfere.
Mr. M. A. Taylor said, he had never
considered that he was called on to bring
forward any measure as a remedy for the
evils of the court of Chancery, but he had
merely stated, that he had prepared some
outlines of a remedy, and probably might
hereafter state some specific proposition.
Mr. Secretary Peel resumed:-Having
the intention, then, on some future day,
to call the attention of the House to a
specific proposition, he would ask again,
whether it would not be better to reserve
this motion until he could bring before
the House the whole question complete?
As yet his hon. friend had mentioned only
one particular proposition, on which se-
rious doubts were entertained; that of the
separation of the bankruptcy jurisdiction
from the Great Seal. The hon. gentle-
man also proposed some additional aid to
the Court of Chancery. On the former
proposition, he, last session, had made a
specific motion, and his hon. friend must
recollect, that he was opposed by some of
the highest legal authorities, who had ex-
pressed their doubts as to the policy of
the measure. Many of them were of
opinion, that no material alteration of the
constitution of the court was necessary,
as they considered it possible that the
court could retain the jurisdiction of bank-
ruptcy, with three judges to do the busi-
ness of Chancery. There was an unwil


Delays in the Court of Chancery. 96
lingness manifested, on that occasion, to
come to any decision, in order that the
House might have experience of the la-
bours of the judges before it legislated.-
In discussing this question, two matters
must be borne in mind; first, whether it
was desirable there should be any altera-
tion in the practice of the Court of Chan-
cery ? So far as the law of real property
was concerned, this would be included in
the inquiry of the commission which would
shortly be appointed. The commission
which his hon. friend had praised in such
warm terms, was appointed to inquire into
the practice of the Court of Chancery.
His hon. friend treated lightly the volume
which had appeared a few weeks ago,
under the authority of the lord Chancel-
lor, the Vice-chancellor, and the Master
of the Rolls, containing eighty-three orders
for the regulation of the Court of Chan-
cery. All those orders were founded on
the recommendation of that commission,
in which his hon. friend had such full and
entire confidence, that he advdrted to the
evidence taken before it as the ground-
work of his motion. These eighty-three
orders were all founded on that report,
and they were not all that his noble friend,
the lord Chancellor, meant to issue.-His
hon. friend should bear in mind the cir-
cumstances in which government were
placed, since he last year had addressed
the House on this subject. During the
intermediate time he should consider what
must have been the occupations of the

lord Chancellor, which, though they did
not prevent him from attending to the
business of his court, had entirely prevent-
ed him from considering the changes that
should be made in its constitution. The
present government itself was constituted
only one week before the meeting of par-
liament. The hon. gentleman, therefore,
ought not to convey reflections on govern-
ment because they had not been able to
bring forward any general proposition for
the reform of the Court of Chancery. He
apprehended, it was impossible to deny
the great arrear of causes, and of business
generally, in that court; and it was equally
impossible to deny, that it would be a
manifest advantage, not only to the suitors
of the court, but for the public at large,
and for the character of the country, if
causes could be conducted at less expense,
and decided in less time. Delay not only
added to expense, but to anxiety, and
that suspense was almost a worse evil than






97 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


adverse adjudication. These were subjects, yet been obtained, to enable the govern-
which, of course, the government was not ment or the House to decide, whether
unwilling to consider, while it was admitted there should or should not be permanent
that there was a greater arrear than ought addition to the judicial establishment of
to exist; but, it ought to be recollected, the kingdom. If it were found necessary,
that it was a diminishing arrear, although the country would not grudge the ex-
perhaps it did not diminish sufficiently pense; but the necessity ought first to be
fast, so as to leave the ccurt, at any period established. A plan had been suggested
that could easily be fixed, free for the de- of making the Court of Exchequer more
cision of new matters. The topic of the efficient. At present it exercised three
Court of Chancery had been necessarily jurisdictions-equity, revenue, and corn-
mixed up with others of high importance mon-law; and the limitation of the busi-
which had pressed upon his (Mr. ness had been attributed to the fact, that
Peel's) attention; but, nevertheless, he a certain number of solicitors only were
had had frequent conferences on the sub- qualified to practise in it. He bore will-
ject with a view to alteration. It was not ing testimony to the great ability and
to be disputed that there was a consider- learning of the barons of the Exchequer,
able and an accumulating arrear in the and that the small quantity of business
King's-bench, arising from no fault of was not to be ascribed to any deficiency
the judges; who devoted as much time on their part; but, certain it was, that,
as it was possible for men to apply to compared with the judges of the King's-
their duties. The lord Chief Justice, and bench and Common Pleas, they had little
Mr. Justice Bailey, had both made repre- to do. The learned member opposite
sentations to him upon the subject, and (Mr. Brougham), had suggested the open-
the point touched upon by the learned ing of the Exchequer to attornies gene-
member for Wootton Basset (Mr. Twiss) rally; and the quantity of revenue busi-
had also engaged the attention of govern- ness had of late been so decreased by the
ment. Here, then, were two courts-the new laws regulating the Customs and Ex-
Chancery and King's-bench-overwhelm- cise, that in future it was not likely to
ed with a mass of business. In one in- occupy any very material portion of time.
stance, the mass was so ponderous that The equity business of the Exchequer,
Mr. Shadwell had declared that it would excepting in tithe cases, gave little relief
require not three human beings, but three to the Court of Chancery: if, by the ad-
angels, to get through it. edition of another judge, or in any other
Mr. Brougham observed, that Mr. way, it could be made efficient for that
Shadwell's statementwas, that three angels purpose, an important object would be
could not get through it. gained; and he believed that this addi-
Mr. Peel trusted that, as that gentle- tion might be made without augmenting
man had been advanced to the bench, and the establishment of inferior officers in the
had thus become one of the three, he Exchequer. If it should appear that,
would display not only human strength, when the present amount of arrear was
but something of the angelic powers to 'wiped away, the Court of Chancery, as
which he had alluded. If, then, three now constituted, would be sufficient for
judges were unable to overcome and to the current business, there might be an
prevent the accumulation of the arrears, advantage in the appointment of a com-
the next question was, whether any per- mission, temporary in its duration, to
manent provision ought to be made for assist in removing the existing accumula-
the discharge of the duty; and he was tion. He forbore from expressing any
sure that it would not be fit to appoint a opinion upon these points, and he had
new judge, until it had been established only adverted to them to show that they
that the present number was insufficient. had not escaped the attention of govern-
The multiplication of judges and of judi- ment. They were, however, involved with
cial establishments did not, in his opinion, other considerations of importance; and
tend to facilitate the transaction of busi- that of expense only was enough to in-
ness. Appeals from one judge to another duce ministers to pause before they adopt-
had decidedly a contrary effect, and con- ed, definitively, any of the alternatives
stituted one of the chief evils of which we offered to them. With respect to the
had now to complain. What he contend- precise motion, he thought he had good
ed was, that sufficient experience had not parliamentary grounds for resisting it,
VOL. XIX, E


APRIL 24, 1828. 98






99 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


without incurring the imputation of an
endeavour to procure delay. He was
unwilling to assent to an abstract propo-
sition; especially when the hon. mover
himself had given notice of his intention
to submit a more specific motion on a
future occasion. There was no ground
for any reflection upon government, and
such a proposal was not usually persisted
in, unless there were good ground for
thinking, that government was determined
to resist all inquiry and to impede all
remedy. If the hon. member found that
the subject was neglected, he might revive
it hereafter; and, in order that he might
do so more conveniently, he would not
meet the motion by a direct negative, but
by the previous question, which would not
require the House to pronounce any de-
cided opinion.
Sir J. Scarlett concurred with the right
hon. gentleman, that the proper time for
coming to a decision was when a specific
motion was brought forward; but after
what had already passed, he thought there
was no necessity for the indefinite proposi-
tion in the hands of the Speaker. If his
hon. friend had proposed a motion for the
purpose of engrafting upon it a bill, he
might have voted differently; but as his
hon. friend stated, that the subject was to
be brought under consideration again, this
was a good ground for voting against the
motion. He was disposed to concur with
the right hon. gentleman, that the number
of judges ought not to be increased. He
recollected the opinion expressed by the
late sir S. Romilly, that no addition was
required to the number of judges in the
then Court of Chancery. Even if it were
a question of doubt, he should be disposed
to wait until the present Chancellor had
had an opportunity of trying the effect of
such reforms and amendments as it was
known he was disposed to introduce, to
facilitate the practice of the court. From
a long and intimate acquaintance with that
noble person, he was satisfied that it was
his sincere desire to remedy existing evils,
and not to oppose prejudice to the real
utility of propositions for the improvement
of the Court of Chancery. He did not
contend that the Court of Chancery did
not require improvement; but improve-
ment was not to be had by increasing the
number of the judges, but by an alteration
of the forms of procedure, and by facili-
tating the progress of causes. One of the
chief difficulties of the Court of Chancery


was, that the same individual had to de-
termine both the law and the fact. It was
the same in other countries, and was at-
tended with similar inconveniences. It
was impossible, in a complicated case, for
the same individual to judge of the law
and [the fact, from the same argument,
too, without great delay and inconvenience.
It occurred to him, that a very useful im-
provement in the course of proceeding in
the Court of Chancery would be to sepa-
rate the adjudication of the law from the
fact. The right hon. gentleman had said,
that he would leave to ihe gentlemen of
the bar the task of vindicating themselves
from the reproaches cast upon them by
the hon. member for Colchester. He
thought that before that House, the bar
of England required no vindication. With
those who from education, connection, or
long intercourse, had become acquainted
with the members of the bar, in this and
in the other Housq of parliament, he was
sure it would not suffer from the imputa-
tions to which he alluded. He did not
deny that at some periods, into so large
and mixed a body, individuals might have
been introduced, whose characters and
conduct had thrown a slur upon the pro-
fession; but those who, of late years, had
been intrusted with the duty of prevent-
ing the intrusion of unworthy candidates,
had not been deficient in watchfulness to
exclude those who, from a spirit of chi-
canery, and a deficiency in the upright
feelings and just principles which distin-
guished gentlemen (although in some
cases not unaccompanied by great talents),
were deemed unfit to become members of
this branch of the profession. Their en-
deavour was to vindicate the bar by puri-
fying it; and in many instances, he was
happy to say, their efforts had been at-
tended with success. But of all the
charges against the bar of England, that
was the least deserved which was derived
from the pay they received; their emolu-
ments were purely honorary; and if he
knew any thing of the early history of the
hon. gentleman, he must know that a
suitor was entitled, on any terms, to the
assistance of the profession; therefore, to
speak of it as a mercenary profession, was
to use the language of ignorance for the
purpose of invective. A more unjust and
at the same time a more absurd reproach
had never been attempted to be cast upon
the bar, than that of doing half the labours
for their fee, when the fee was in the op.


Delays in the Courtb of Chancery.






101 Delays in the Court of Chancery.


tion of the party giving it. It was easy
to make an attack on an individual. He
did not shrink from the charge of being a
moderate reformer. He should be glad
if those who attacked character would dis-.
play equal talent when called to defend
one. The most ignorant might attack
and destroy an edifice, but it required
wisdom to build it up. He was not against
reform, but the best way to reform was
to conduct it with temper. It was im-
possible in a country like this, that pro-
perty could be secured without expense.
His hon. friend near him had referred to
a case in which he had prevented parties
from being involved in an expensive pro-
cess of law. It happened to every pro-
fessional man that he often advised his client
not to proceed, and told him that his case
was doubtful. But the clients say-" We
do not care for that; nothing will satisfy
us short of a judge and jury." If the par-
ties, in the case mentioned by his hon.
friend, were disposed to get the 150,0001.
out of Chancery by arbitration, well and
good; but if all persons having questions of
that kind did the same, there would then
be no settled rules for property. If it was
necessary to have rules, there must be
men who understood those rules, and
could apply them. It was certainly a
difficult thing to get property out of the
Court of Chancery, and he always advised
persons not to pay money into that court
if they could help it; but he did not
think that this difficulty was any imputa-
tion upon the court. He should support
the amendment of the right hon. gentle-
man, because he did not think it was fit
that the House should vote upon an ab-
stract question.
Mr. Brougham wished to say a few
words, that the grounds of his vote might
be clearly understood. He agreed that it
was, at all times, inconvenient to vote ab-
stract propositions ; and, if he understood
it rightly, there was one part of the mo-
tion to which he could in no way agree.
With all respect for his hon. friend, to
whom the country was under such weighty
obligations for benefits conferred, espe-
cially in reference to the Court of Chan-
cery, he could not concur in his proposi-
tion of that night without abandoning the
principles he had uniformly held and de-
clared. He was called upon to assert, by
the motion ; not merely that certain great
evils exist in Chancery, attending the
mode of proeeedirg and the construction


of the law (for to that extent he might be
willing to go), but to declare the affirma-
tive of that proposition of which he had
maintained the negative from the time
when the subject of the Court of Chancery
was broached in the year 1811 down to
the period when it was introduced by his
learned friend, Mr. Williams, then mem-
ber for Lincoln. It formed the conclusion
of the motion in the hands of the Speaker,
and declared the inadequacy of the ma-
chinery of the court, as at present consti-
tuted. For his own part, he was satisfied
that there were judges enough, and officers
enough, to administer the equitable juris-
diction of the country, without any arrear,
if they duly bestirred themselves in the
exercise of their functions, and called to
their aid certain plain and easy reforms.
Great part of those reforms might be made
by themselves as matters of practice, and
to the rest attention had been directed
with a view of obtaining legislative assist-
ance. He fully concurred with a great
light, unhappily now extinguished-a high
authority upon all subjects, but still higher
upon those relating to the laws of the
country, and more peculiarly to be revered
and followed upon that branch of juris-
prudence with which he was peculiarly
conversant- he need hardly say that he
meant sir S. Romilly-who had declared,
not from hearsay, not even from mere ac-
curate observation, but from daily and
hourly practical personal experience-that
not only three Equity Judges would be
sufficient, but that the third judge then
recommended to be appointed was unne-
cessary. This opinion he gave not once,
but as often as the subject was brought
before the House, and stated his con-
vincing reason most elaborately and im-
pressively, as many present would recol-
lect, and as others might read in the re-
cords of parliamentary history. In 1812,
or the beginning of 1813, sir S. Romilly
opposed the Vice-chancellor's bill, and
urged, that if the two judges then existing
did their duty, with a few slight changes
in the practice of the court, they might
get through all the business brought be-
fore it. It might be said, that the busi-
ness had since increased; but the very
adoption of the measure opposed by sir S.
Romilly had materially contributed to that
increase. The bill being carried, the
office of Vice-chancellor was created;
and thus half as much more judicial power
was given, or was supposed to be given,
E2


APRIL 24, 1828. In2






103 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


to the court. It was naturally thought by
some, that three judges must be adequate
to all the business, and to get rid of the
arrear. But were not two judges formerly
quite sufficient? Was there any arrear
under lord Thurlow, or lord Lough-
borough ? [It was intimated, across the
table, that in the time of lord Lough-
borough there was some arrear in Chan-
cery]. There might be a slight arrear;
but it did not deserve the name, as com-
pared with the vast accumulation of the
present day. He was happy to be able to
say thatthe arrear was not on the increase
at the present moment; that it was not
even stationary, for it had been consider-
ably reduced. He also founded his re-
sistance to the latter part of.the motion,
upon the fact, that previous to the last
twenty or twenty-five years, and without
a Vice-chancellor, business, at one time,
was got through without any arrear; and
at another with a very trifling arrear, by
the predecessors of the late lord Chan-
cellor. But, in spite of the increased judi-
cial power since 1813, there was still a
heavy arrear; and it might be said, that
the existence of that arrear increased the
slowness and difficulty in hearing and de-
termining new business, while, without
that arrear, the judges would be compe-
tent to the despatch and decision of the
new business. In courts ofjustice it might
be as it was in the private affairs of an in-
dividual; in point of economy, where a
man had only a limited income, it was
good policy to start him in the world with-
out any accumulation of debt; and on
similar principles, it would be wise to start
the Court of Chancery afresh, without any
arrear of business. On this account he
had listened with the more favour to the
proposition of the right hon. gentleman,
for appointing a temporary commission to
get rid of the existing accumulation of
causes, and thus starting the three Equity
Judges fairly and without weight, ascer-
tain whether they could not keep pace
with the current business of Chancery.
His opinion with respect to the division of
business between the Courts of Equity
and the Courts of Law was well known.
He differed widely on that point from his
learned friend the member for Weymouth.
He had said, and he repeated it, that a
great change was necessary. As much as
possible of the business which had, of late
years, got into the Courts of Equity ought
to be drawn back to the Courts of Law.


If that were done, not only would justice
be administered more quickly, more satis-
factorily, more cheaply, and more surely,
and not only would much of the ruinous
expense, which at present was so disgrace-
fully attached to the administration of jus-
tice, be got rid of; but, instead of there
being any doubt, whether the three Equity
Judges were sufficient for the despatch of
business, the only doubt would be whe-
ther they were not too many. As, how-
ever, this was a subject which he hoped
was in a train for thorough discussion
elsewhere, he would abstain, at present,
from saying any thing more upon it.-He
would now beg leave to say one word with
reference to the learned lord on the wool-
sack, and to the learned judges who were
that learned lord's coadjutors in subordi-
nate courts. He was quite ready to agree
with those who had expressed their confi-
dent hopes that these three learned per-
sons would be found perfectly adequate to
the discharge of the important duties im-
posed upon them. With regard to the late
Vice-chancellor, now the Master of the
Rolls, his character for ability, learning,
perseverance, and diligence, was too well
known to render it necessary for him to
say more than that there never was a more
diligent and active judge, or one who de-
voted more time to the business of his si-
tuation, or one who, in a given time, got
through so much business. He had also
great confidence in the talent and learn-
ing of his learned friend the present Vice-
chancellor. Undoubtedly it would be rash
to pronounce any decided opinion on this
the very morn of his judicial day; but,
knowing his general capacity, and his
eminence at the bar, he had great ex-
pectations that his learned friend would
be equally distinguished in his judicial ca-
pacity. At the same time, it certainly
did not always follow that an able man at
the bar made a good judge. God forbid
that he should be supposed to throw out
the slightest doubt upon the subject; but
experience was still wanting with respect
to it. As to the learned lord at the head
of the Chancery Court, he agreed with his
learned friend opposite, that, to a certain
extent, that learned lord was new to the
practice of Courts of Equity. He must
undoubtedly have had considerable diffi-
culties to encounter in the discharge of
his high office. As, however, it was ac-
knowledged on all hands, that he was a
man of great talents and knowledge, it


Delays -in the Court of~ Chan2cery.







was impossible not to feel confidence that funds belonged to them and what to others ;
he would go on with the same success who their partners were, or whether they
as other learned persons had done, who had any partners at all. Good as he be-
had gone into Courts of Equity from Corn- lived some parts of the mercantile law
mon-law courts. About a year ago, he to be-good as he believed the common
had expressed his unwillingness not to try law part of it to be-yet a more vicious
what might be accomplished by the ar- and enslaving system than the law re-
rangement which then existed. Atwelve- lating to partnerships did not, in his opi-
month had elapsed, and the arrears had nion, exist. Now that the people were
not.increased; they had not even been suffering under these abuses, they felt
stationary; they had diminished. With anxious that the law should not exists it
that diminution his confidence had natu- was, but rather that it should be super-
rally grown. The other observations seded by almost any other system.--He
which he wished to make, related to the had been induced to mention these cir-
inquiries which were now going on upon cumstances, to show the acute feeling of
the subject of legal reforms. In these the country on the question of legal re-
matters the country felt a deep interest. forms. There had been no disposition ex-
In no one subject were they more anxiously pressed on the part of government to op-
interested, not even in economical reform, pose these reforms ; but then, though it
retrenchment of public expenditure, and mattered little what the form might be,
relief from taxation; for, popular as all yet every thing depended on the constitu-
these questions were, he doubted if even tion of the commissions-on the indivi-
these moved the public mind more deeply duals who were to compose them. His
than the reform of our system of jurispru- learned friend had observed, that profes-
dence; and, for this plain and obvious rea- sional men ought not to be objected to,
son,-men had at length begun to feel, because it might be said that they were
be their hopes ever so fond, and their ex- interested in the preservation of the
pectations from the Finance Committee present system. Nothing could be more
ever so sanguine, that, as long as the debt, just, nothing more practically true.
the dead-weight, and the pension list, con- Lawyers were not interested, quasi pro-
tinued, it was impossible that any sum fessional men, because, far from lessen-
which should bear a large proportion to ing their business, every such change had
the millions which they must pay for a direct tendency to increase it. But
the debt, and the interest of the debt, men were not always actuated by in-
could ever be removed. That being the terested motives. Those who had been
case, men naturally looked at other parts long used to the system had another bias,
of our system which came home to them, quite as dangerous and as strong, though
and pressed heavily upon almost all, and not so sordid. Some men were prejudiced
were more burthensome even than their in favour of a system in which they had
taxation. His opinion was founded upon been born and bred: they loved the
an extensive correspondence in which he mysteries which they had spent so much
had been engaged since the question of time in learning; and they did not like the
reform inourjurisprudencehad occupiedthe rude hand which would sweep away the
attention of the House-a correspondence, cobwebs, in spinning which they had spent
in the profession and out of it, with those their midnight's oil and their days for, per-
very persons to whom the learned member haps, half a century. This it was, and
for Weymouth had alluded, not as victims not their interest that he dreaded; and
of the abuses of the law, but as victims of therefore, he said, that neither judges,
the reforms in the law which that learned whether chief judges or puisne judges, nor
member apprehended. He meant men of men who were on the verge of being made
property, mercantile men, landed men, judges, were the persons best suited to
men who groaned under the effect of the effect a change in the system as it at pre-
law of real property, under which it was so sent stood. He wished to touch lightly
difficult to tell whether they had a title to and delicately on this matter, as one of the
the property in their possession, how they commissions was not yet appointed, and
could make a title to property they might that which was appointed had not yet be-
be going to purchase, or to the fortune they gun its operations. The latter was past
might inherit. It very often happened praying for: but for the other, he must
that mercantile men did not know what express his anxious hope that the greatest.


APRIL 24, 1828. 106


Delays in the Court of Ch~ancery.






107 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


care would be taken in constituting it.
He would rather it should be composed
of three than five; but five he thought
quite enough, and he would have such per-
sons named as were totally free from any
thing like professional bias or prejudice.
That they were here placed between two
difficulties, he admitted. They might find
a man who had no bias, and who might,
for that reason, be the less informed upon
the subject; but if they could find men in
the profession-and such men did exist-
who were not only eminent lawyers, but
who joined practical knowledge with an
extensive and general acquaintance with
the law-if they found such men as these,
and did not appoint them, then he knew
what the conclusion would be. The world
at large would see that they had chosen
men, not because they were good lawyers
-not because they were strong in equity
-not because they were powerful in real
property-but because they were weak re-
formers, because they were powerless in
inquiring into abuses, and because, though
they could not refuse the investigation,
they were determined that the system
should pass the ordeal with as little da-
mage, with as little change as possible.
Tertium nullum constat. They must
either choose good men who would reform,
or good men who would not reform.
The government had given a pledge, that
they were desirous of reform; and, if it
were not redeemed by a properly consti-
tuted commission, they would defeat the
just, general, and ardent expectation of the
country. He wished to state this in time.
He meant no offence to those persons to
whom he had alluded. He had no dis-
trust in the lord Chancellor, or in the right
hon. Secretary, with whom these appoint-
ments rested; but if he had omitted on
the present occasion, in the interval be-
tween the appointment of the one com-
mission and the near appointment of the
other, to express the fears which he enter-
tained-fears founded, he did not deny,
on rumours which had come to his ears-
and should no good hereafter result from
appointments from which he had fondly
expected much, the House would have a
right to complain; and those out of doors,
who had confided in him when he brought
forward this inquiry, would have a right tc
blame him, if he had not spoken his mind
upon the subject. One word more with
respect to the evil of an improper ap.
pointment of the second commission. 11


would not only defeat the hopes enter-
tained of great improvement in the law of
real property, but it would also most in-
juriously indicate to the commission al-
ready appointed what was the disposition
of government on the subject. If the
members of the first commission saw that
certain persons were chosen, or, on the
other hand, that certain persons were
omitted in the formation of the seqgnd
commission, they would naturally conclude
that government were not over anxious
for reformation in the state of the law.
Whatever might be their instructions, they
would look at facts rather than at words;
especially in matters of a personal nature.
Such were the observations which he had
felt it his duty to make; and he had made
them with pain and anxiety; because he
was aware that the tendency of all remarks
of the kind was to assume the appearance
of invidious objection to individuals.
His objections, however, were far from
being of a personal description, and were
exclusively such as he had stated.
After a short reply from Mr. M. A.
Taylor, the House divided: For the mo-
tion 42; For the previous question 91;
Majority against the motion 49.

List of the Majority and of the Minority.
MAJORITY.


Alexander, II.
Alexander, J.
Apsley, lord
Arbuthnot, rt. hon. C.
Ashley, lord
Atkins, J.
Balfour, James
Bankes, H.
Bankes, G.
Beckett, sir J.
Brecknock, lord
Boyd, W.
Buller, Charles
Calvert, John
Campbell, arch.
Carrington, sir E.
Cockburn, sir G.
Cole, Arthur
Cooke, sir H.
Cooper, R. B.
Courtenay, T. P.
Dalrymple, A. J.
Dawson, G. R.
Dennyson, J.
Dotten, A. R.
Downe, lord
Dundas, R. A. Ips-
wich
Drummond, Home
East, sir E.


Eastnor, lord
Eliot, lord
Elphinstone, col.
Fitzgerald, rt. hoo. V.
Foster, hon. J. L.
Fremantle, sir T.
Gordon, John
Goulburn, rt. hon. 1H.
Graham, Marquis
Greene, T. G.
Greville, hon. sir C. G.
Hart, G. V.
Hay, Adam
Harrison, Battley
Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Hill, sir G.
Holmes, W.
Horton, rt. hon. J. W.
Hotham, lord
Huskisson,rt.hon. W.
Innes, sir H.
Lamb, rt. hon. W.
Lennard, T. B
Lester, B.
Lewis, rt. hon. T. F.
Littleton, E. J.
Lockhart, J. E.
Lott, H. B.
M'Leod, R.
M'Kenzie, sir J.


Delays in the Court of Chanacery.






109 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


Malcolm, N.
Maryatt, J.
Martin, sir T. B.
Maxwell, H.
Moore, G.
Mountcharles, earl
Morrison, J.
Norton, G. C.
North, J. H.
Owen, sir E.
Pettit, L. H.
Prlmerston, lord
Peachy, general
Peel, right hon. R.
Peel, Laurence
Prendergast, M. G.
Robinson, G. B.
Rose, sir G.
Rae, sir W.
M
Bernal, Ralph
Carter, J. B.
Clive, E. B.
Compton, Samuel
Denison, W. J.
Dundas, hon. T.
Dundas, H. G.
Dundas, sir R.
Ducane, P.
Easthope, J.
Ebrington, lord
Ennismore, lord
Fergusson, sir R.
Forbes, John
Gordon, Robert
Graham, sir J.
Grattan, James
Iarvey, D. W.
ITeneage, G. F.
Hume, Joseph
Knight, R.
Lumrley, S.
Marjoribanks, S.


Ross, John
Saunderson, A.
Scarlett, sir J.
Sibthorpe, C. D. W.
Somerset, lord E.
Spottiswoode, A.
Sugden, E. B.
Trant, H.
Talmash, L.
Talmash, F.
Thynne, lord W.
Tindal, sir N. C.
Ure, Masterton
Villiers, T. H.
Wetherall, sir C.
Wortley, hon. L. S.
TELLERS.
Sir G. Clerk
J. Planta.
MINORITY.
Martin, John
Marshall, William
Maberly, colonel
Maberly, John
Palmer, C. F.
Pendarves, E. W.
Ponsonby, hon. F.
Protheroe, E.
Russell, lord W.
Sebright, sir J.
Smith, W.
Stuart, II. V.
Townshend, lord C.
Twiss, Horace
Waithman, alderman
Warburton, H.
Wilbraham, G.
Wood, alderman
Wood, John
TELLERS.
Lord Rancliffe,
M. A. Taylor.


IOUSE OF LORDS.
Friday, April 25.
CORPORATION AND TEST ACTS REPEAL
BILL.] On the order of the day for taking
the Reporton this bill into further consider-
ation,
The Earl of Eldon said, that, having an
alteration to propose in the preamble of
the second clause, he should move that
the following words be left out: -
" And whereas the Protestant Episcopal
Church of England and Ireland, and the
doctrine, discipline, and government,
thereof, and the Protestant Presbyterian
Church of Scotland, and the doctrine,
discipline, and government, thereof, are
by the laws of this realm severally estab-
lished permanently and inviolably." His


reason for wishing those words to be left
out was, because he thought that that
clause had been most insidiously intro-
duced into those bills, from which it had
been most incautiously borrowed. The
preamble set forth that the doctrine,
discipline, and government, of the Church
were severally secured and yet they
could not be secured if the laws of
the realm were altered with respect to
that which no man living could doubt
were acts which, by the Union, were
meant to be preserved as statutes then in
force for the security of the Church of
England. He strongly contended, that
their lordships ought not to leave this
clause standing as part of the present bill.
It was not, however, his intention to divide
the House upon his motion; his object in
moving it being merely to have it entered
upon the Journals.
Earl Grey hoped, that the assurance of
the learned earl, that he would merely
move his amendment pro forma, would be
better observed than a similar assurance
made by the same noble earl last night
had been. He had then assured their
lordships, that he had no intention of
dividing the House upon an amendment
proposed by him, his only object being to
have it entered upon the Journals; upon
the faith of which assurance, several noble
lords went away. Nevertheless, the
learned earl thought proper afterwards to
divide the House upon his motion, behind
the backs of those noble lords who had so
left the House. In point of order, it was
not competent to the learned earl to make
this proposition now ; for their lordships
had already passed the preamble of the
bill. The learned earl, their lordships
would recollect, had moved the introduc-
tion of certain words into the preamble of
the bill. That proposition was negatived.
Their lordships then proceeded beyond
the preamble, and the learned earl moved
the introduction of the words that I am
a Protestant" into the Declaration. Now,
that motion was under discussion, when it
was agreed, in order to give noble lords an
opportunity of more maturely considering
its effects, to adjourn the further discussion
of it until to-day. Therefore, he repeated,
that in point of order, it was impossible for
the learned earl to make his present pro-
position in this stage of the bill. But it
would be competent to him, at a future
period, when the clause came to be put,
to object to it altogether; or he might


APRIL '25, 1828. Ito






111 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 112


propose any amendment he pleased upon
the third reading of the bill.
The Earl of Eldon denied that the
House had come to that stage of the bill,
in which he had proposed to insert the
words I am a Protestant." On the con-
trary, a motion was made for the post-
ponement of the further consideration
of the report, before he could move the
insertion of those words in the Declaration.
The noble earl, too, had mistaken what
he had stated as to his intention in moving
these amendments. He had not said, that
he moved them only for the purpose of
putting them formally on the Journals;
and when that charge had been brought
against him last night, he understood that
he was entirely acquitted of it. He would
be sorry to bring their lordships' pro-
ceedings into confusion. No man was
more desirous than he was to conform to
their orders. He would rather that this
faulty, miserable, wretched bill, should
pass without any amendment, than be
guilty of a breach of the orders of the
House. But he maintained that he was
not out of order, and that it was fully
competent for him to make this motion;
and he was the more inclined to persist in
making it, after the objections that had
been urged against it. He would with-
draw his amendment, however, out of
compliment to the noble earl; but, on the
third reading, he would take the sense of
the House upon it.
Earl Grey said, that the learned earl
now offered to withdraw his proposition in
compliment to him; but he wanted nothing
from the learned earl out of compliment.
He repeated, that the proposition could
not now be brought forward. He had
referred to the printed minutes and they
fully bore out what he had said. In those
minutes there was this entry:-" It was
then moved, that after the word 'that'
the words I am a Protestant' be inserted;
which being put, the further consideration
of the motion was adjourned until to-
morrow."
The Earl of Eldon said, upon his honour,
he never did move that amendment. He
knew it was so upon the minutes; but he
would assert that whoever had placed it
there, had done so without being warranted
by the fact.
The Lord Chancellor said, that the course
of proceeding last night had been this-
the learned lord moved an amendment,
which was negative: he afterwards stated,


that he meant to move another amend-
ment, introducing the words "I am a
Protestant" into the Declaration, and
proceeded to state the grounds on which
he meant to move that amendment.
Some noble lords then proposed that the
subject should stand over till to-night, in
order to give them an opportunity of
considering it; upon which it was moved,
that the question be adjourned to this
evening; but he did not think that his
learned friend had moved his amendment.
Lord Holland said, that whatever might
be the learned lord's recollection of what
took place last night, there was the docu-
ment from which it appeared that the
motion was made; and, if any additional
proof were necessary, it was to be found
in what had been stated by the learned
lord, who said that two speeches had been
made upon it; because, who ever heard of
any noble lord getting up and making a
speech to-day, in support of a motion
which he intended to bring forward to-
morrow? It was clear, therefore, that
that question was decided. The noble
and learned lord, however, seemed to
disregard the records of the House, and
called upon the House to take his asser-
tion in preference. Now, he (lord Holland)
was-" a plain blunt man;" but only let
him suppose that he, or any of his noble
friends had attempted to deny the authority
of the records of that House, what dread-
ful consequences would they not be told
would ensue from trampling under foot all
the sacred rules, and usages, and customs,
handed down to them by their ancestors!
If such a proceeding as this were to be
allowed, any man who, after a measure
had been carried, wished to defeat that
measure, would have nothing to do but
to say that the motion had not been made.
Their lordships must be bound by their
own records. The learned earl, however,
fortunately for himself-perhaps unfortu-
nately for the House-would have another
opportunity of bringing forward his pro-
position; but, unquestionably, to do so
now would be against all rules, and
orders.
The Earl of Eldon would withdraw his
motion; but he would repeat, that he had
never got to that motion which referred
to the introduction of the words I am a
Protestant" into the Declaration. What
he had said was, that that amendment
ought to be introduced, but lie had cer-
tainly never made the motion.






113 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


The order of the day being read, I to the Test act. The Corporation act, to
The Earl of Eldon said, he would now which alone it did refer, proceeded to
move (the clause having been read by the state what persons were to be brought into
clerk), that instead of the word "declare," corporations in future. It said, that no
the word swear be substituted; but he mayor, recorder, bailiffs, &c. should be
only did so, for the purpose of having elected who had not taken the Sacrament
such motion entered on the Journals. within twelve months preceding his elec-
Earl Grey rose to order. The House tion. There was not a word said about
had left off last night at a part of the his taking it after being elected. The
clause subsequent to that in which the Test act required that persons appointed
noble and learned earl now moved to to any offices of trust should take the
introduce his amendment; it was there- Sacrament within six months. Now, the
fore incompetent for him to make that Corporation act required that they should
motion now. He was surprised to hear take some oaths, but which were altered
the learned earl re-assert, that he had not by three subsequent acts of parliament,
made his motion last night for the intro- by which they were to take the substituted
duction of the words I am a Protestant" oaths instead of those mentioned in the
into the Declaration in this clause. How Corporation act. But in no subsequent
could they tell what had been done but by act were they required to make the decla-
the records of the House? Now, if a ration against transubstantiation. Now,
false entry had been made in those records, he desired to know by what act of parlia-
a great fault had been committed by some ment a person filling a corporate office, as
person, and it ought to be noticed. He such, was bound to make the declaration
certainly thought that the motion had against transubstantiation? A man might
been made, and his recollection was con- be a mayor, or an alderman, but not a
firmed by the minutes. In future, he justice of the peace; and, unless he was a
hoped that, to avoid accidents, every mo- justice of the peace, he wished to know by
tion would be read and put before it was what act he was required to make the
entered on the records of the House. He declaration against transubstantiation ? It
conceived the House was now bound to was nothing more than proper, inasmuch
proceed to the consideration of that ques- as, with respect to corporations, their
tion which was under discussion when they lordships were about to repeal the act im-
adjourned. i posing the Sacramental Test, that some-
The Earl of Eldon wished to be under- thing approaching at least to the same
stood as withdrawing these two motions, security should be substituted in its stead.
but not admitting the fact. He would now That Test would not now operate, except
move, that there be inserted after the in cases where the individual was not only
words on the true faith of a Christian," a member of the corporation, but a justice
these words, 1 am a Protestant." He of the peace also. A man might come
wished their lordships to understand, that and make the present Declaration, with-
what he was now proposing had relation out being of any religion at all. This, he
to the corporations only, and not to offices contended, was the case with reference to
under the Crown. He also solemnly pro- the present Declaration. Individuals of
tested, that he would not make this mo- any denomination, if they chose to apply,
tion, if he thought that it operated to the might get into corporations; and, unless
prejudice of the claims of the Roman they were thereby to become magistrates,
Catholics. What he wished was, that the the Sacramental Test was dispensed with.
present bill, if passed, should pass without i Persons of the Roman Catholic persuasion,
affecting the Roman Catholic claims one the antecedent Test of the Sacrament
way or the other. His only motive in being removed, might avail themselves of
proposing this amendment was, that if its repeal, and become members of corpo-
this clause were to be enacted without rations. Of the propriety of annulling
these words, it would have the effect of that Test, he should now say nothing; but
materially promoting the views of the under this bill it was evident, that any
PRoman Catholics.-He now wished to say person might enter a corporation, and re-
a few words again on this subject. The main there immovablv,withoutbeingbound
Declaration to which his: present amend- to take any Test whatever, except the
ment referred, had nothing to do with the very unsatisfactory one, that he would not
subsequent part of the bill, with respect attempt to injure or disturb the Established


APRIL 25, 1828. 114






Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 116


Church of the country, by virtue of any
power vested in him by reason of his office.
Individuals entering office would be equally
bound, without taking any such Declara-
tion, not to injure theEstablished Church, as
honest and conscientious men. He there-
fore said, that if they left the act in this
way, it would be incomplete and unsatis-
factory. Their lordships ought to frame
it, and to pass it, as an act neither preju-
dicing nor promoting the claims of the
Roman Catholics,-a situation in which
it did not stand at present. He wished
the measure to be so drawn up, as not to
interfere with the interests or claims of
the Roman Catholics, when that question
came to be substantively discussed; but
he did not think that any declaration
should be agreed to that did not call on
the individual taking it to declare, I am
a Protestant." That was a fair and honest
proposition. If he were wrong in point
of law on this subject, he could only say
that he could not, for his life and soul,
discover where his error lay. He had
taken much pains to arrive at a just
knowledge of the question; he had read
many acts of parliament on the subject,
and he confessed that he could not dis-
cover on what point he was wrong.
The Lord Chancellor said, he felt him-
self bound, after what had fallen from his
noble and learned friend, to state the
opinion which he entertained on this
question. He rejoiced that their lord-
ships had acceded to the proposition for
postponing the consideration of this sub-
ject; because he would admit that the
observations then thrown out by his no-
ble and learned friend had the effect of
creating doubts in his mind; but the de-
lay that had taken place had afforded
leisure for reflection and inquiry; and,
after the most mature consideration, he
was of opinion that there was nothing of
solidity in his noble and learned friend's
objection. If he could bring himself for
a moment to believe, that the words I
am a Protestant" were calculated to give
such a complexion to the question as his
noble [and learned friend. had described,
he should be the last man to oppose them.
But, because he was of opinion that they
would produce no such effect, and be-
cause he felt that their insertion would
only create irritation in the country, he
felt himself bound to vote against the
motion of his noble and learned friend.
The question for consideration was this,


-whether, if the words proposed were
not inserted as part of the Declaration,
Roman Catholics would have the power
of becoming governing members of cor-
porations in this country. How stood the
law with reference to the maxim which
his noble and learned friend had laid
down? Every person, being the govern-
ing member of a corporation, was bound,
before his election, to take the Sacra-
mental Test, and he was bound also, on
his election, to take the Oath of Suprema-
cy; so that if the legislature abrogated
the Sacramental Test, they would still
leave, in full force, the Oath of Suprema-
cy. He called on noble lords, in con-
sidering this question, not to listen to ru-
mours and surmises against the Roman
Catholics; and he would ask them to de-
clare, calmly and temperately, whether
the Oath of Supremacy was not obligatory
on the consciences of the Roman Catho-
lics. So far as he had been able to make
inquiry, and he had consulted persons of
the greatest honour and probity, he was
satisfied that the Oath of Supremacy was
felt to be highly obligatory on the Roman
Catholics. Therefore he contended, that
so long as the necessity existed for taking
that oath, it formed an effectual bar
against the Roman Catholics. He would
argue, stopping here, not going a single
step farther- repealing the Sacramental
Test, but leaving the necessity of taking,
the Oath of Supremacy in full force-that
there was a complete bar against the in-
trusion of the Roman Catholics. But he
did not stop here. He differed entirely
from his noble and learned friend; but at
the same time felt it incumbent on him,
when he declared that he differed from
his noble and learned friend on a point
of law (and he did so with great deference
for his noble and learned friend's expe-
rience) to say, that it was the importance
of the occasion which called on him to
exercise his own judgment and under-
standing.-His noble and learned friend
had asked, by what statute a corporator
was bound to make the declaration
against transubstantiation ? He answered
that the governing corporator was bound
to make it, by the operation of the Test
act. He had looked to that act-he had
read the terms of it-and he found the
necessity of that declaration being made
by every person holding any office, civil
or military, was there laid down. The
first impression on his mind on looking at


116: HOUSt OF LORDS,






117 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


that act was, that those words were con- introduced into the statute, and he had
trolled, in substance, by the subsequent all this confirmed by a reference to the
words, which referred to offices held under custom of the first corporation in the
the Crown. Every person understanding country, authenticated by the first law-
grammatical construction, looking to the officer of that corporation. If, then, they
way in which the clause was drawn up, repealed the Sacramental Test, what had
must see, that persons holding offices, they left? Still those applying for par-
civil or military, under the Crown, were ticular situations must take the Oath of
bound by the words of the act to make Supremacy, which, with all his feelings
the declaration against transubstantiation. and all his prejudices on this subject, he
But any doubt he might have, as to considered to be sufficiently binding.
whether these words were confined to But beyond this, there still existed the
offices under the Crown, were removed by necessity for subscribing to the declara-
another part of the act; for he there saw tion against transubstantiation, in the
words that would have been utterly use- manner which he had already pointed out.
less, if the enactments were limited to If, therefore, their lordships were of this
that point. A proviso was introduced, opinion, he conjured them not to adopt
excepting from the operation of the act the amendment. He would say, that it
a great number of persons holding inferior was calculated to create irritation,--that
offices not under the Crown. Now, if the it was likely to do incalculable mischief.
original enacting clause was confined to Seeing how the measure had been sup-
offices held under the Crown, it would be ported by the right reverend bench,-see-
useless thus to exclude from the operation ing that it had been approved of in the
of the act persons who held no such of- other House of parliament, by those who
fice. He therefore contended, that the were most zealous for the Established
act extended to every person holding a Church,-seeing that no petitions had
civil office, and did not refer alone to been presented against it,-considering
privy councillors and other high digni- that the Universities of Oxford and Cam-
taries in the state. This construction was bridge, which were always so actively
entirely confirmed by the proviso, which alive to the interests of the Church, un-
it would have been absurd to introduce, der whose care and patronage the Church
if persons holding office under the Crown was especially placed, as its most vigilant
were alone contemplated by the bill. He guardians, did not petition against the
felt, in his situation, after what had been bill, or express a wish that it would not
said last night by his noble and learned pass, he had hoped, that their lordships
friend, that it was necessary to proceed would have sent it out to the world ac-
with the utmost caution; and he there- companies with such a spirit of concilia-
fore made some inquiries as to the prac- tion, as would have been highly advan-
tice which prevailed in corporations. He tageous to the country. He certainly felt
inquired whether thn governing officers of distressed and disappointed at the conduct
corporations, not being in his majesty's pursued by his noble and learned friend,
commission of the peace, made the decla- -conduct, no doubt, arising from the
ration against transubstantiation-whether best and most conscientious motives, but
those persons came within the meaning which was likely to produce much irrita-
of the act; the ordinary practice being tion. He gave him the highest credit for
in his opinion, the true expounder of the his talents, for his great legal powers,
law. He had stated this question thus and for his zeal for the interest of the
plainly to the highest magistrate in the Church; but he thought that the exercise
city-to the Recorder; and that learned of those talents, of those powers, and of
individual had this day informed him, that zeal, in the present instance, was de-
that after a careful search in the records cidedly mischievous.
of the city, he found the custom uni- The Bishop of Bristol said, he was not
versally and uniformly to have been, for aware of the legal point which the learned
the members of the common-council- lord on the woolsack had stated; namely,
not that part of the corporation who were that it was customary for any but the
magistrates -to make the declaration principal officers of corporations to take
against transubstantiation. He referred, the declaration against transubstantiation.
in support of his view of the subject, to That, undoubtedly, made a considerable
the act of parliament, and to the proviso alteration in the case; and many persons


APRIL 25, 1828. 118






119 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 120


might think that it formed a sufficient se-
curity against the admission of the Roman
Catholics. That was a matter, however,
which should be strictly provided for;
seeing that the corporations of this coun-
try, in many instances, were trustees of
property connected with the foundation of
schools and other public charities, as well
as of funds which were originally be-
queathed for ecclesiastical purposes. It
was therefore proper that the Catholics
should be excluded from coming into cor-
porations; and with that view he could
not conceive what good objection could be
urged against the suggestion of the learned
lord who proposed that the word "Pro-
testant" should be introduced. He did
not exactly know whether this bill would
make for or against the Roman Catholics
but, in legislating for the Dissenters, he
thought the measure, whatever it was,
should go to that point alone. How this
bill would ultimately affect the Roman
Catholics, he did not now mean to con-
sider, although he had a decided opinion
on the subject. He wished to state the:
general grounds on which he proceeded
with respect to this measure. When he
first heard of its introduction into the other
House, he confessed it gave him alarm,
because he believed it to be a mischievous
measure, and he felt considerably surprised
when he saw petitions presented in such
immense numbers to their lordships' House.
There was scarcely one of those petitions
that did not breathe a spirit of ill-feeling
towards the Church establishment, nay,
that did not express detestation against it
[no, no]. He did not approve of the bill
in its original form ; and, with every desire
to let the Dissenters into the different
offices of government, so far as the se-
curity of the state was provided for, he
deemed it just and proper that the Decla-
ration should be altered, to afford that se-
curity. If the proposition for altering the
Declaration'had been agreed to, the con-
sequence would be, that the Church of
England would feel perfectly satisfied:
the Church of Scotland might have been
introduced in a manner equally satisfac-
tory, the members of that Church being
called on to receive the necessary rites,
according to the forms of their religion,
at the appointed time; and it was well
known that the Wesleyan Methodists
would have raised no objection to such an
arrangement. In speaking of the peti-
tioners, he meant to say nothing dis-


respectful. He esteemed many of them
for their candour, their charity, and their
humanity. But whenever they came in
contact with the Established Church,
especially on points of discipline and doc-
trine, they showed a decided hostility to it.
He therefore saw no other mode for the
security of the Established Church than
to have a more strict Declaration. The
Dissenters were a powerful body, they had
great control in many places, they had es-
tablished schools in various parts of the
country, and it was not unworthy of re-
mark, that they frequently kept the
children at those schools on the Sunday
when the service of the Church was going
on, by which they were deprived of re-
ligious instruction. If they looked at the
report of the committee of the House of
Commons on Education, they would find
it stated, in the evidence of Dr. Hunt,
that in his opinion, one great cause of the
increase of crime was the detention of the
children of these schools. He felt the
utmost confidence in the present govern-
ment, and he was disposed to acquiesce
in the provisions of the bill, if proper se-
curities were provided for the Church, and
he trusted that the suggestions thrown out
by the noble and learned lord would have
their full weight.
The Earl of Carlisle, in a low tone of
voice, denied that the petitions presented
in favour of the bill merited the reflection
cast upon them by the right rev. prelate.
He had himself laid one upon the table
of a very different tenor; and if it had
declared its hostility to the Church, he
certainly should have felt considerable re-
luctance in offering it to the House. On
the contrary, it stated, that although the
Declaration was unnecessary, they did not
object to it, as they were conscious that
they harboured no feelings inimical to the
establishment. After the luminous and
convincing argument of the learned lord
on the woolsack, it would be presumption
for him to say more, than that he fully
concurred in it.
The Earl of Guilford said, he thought
the course which had been taken in that
House, on this occasion, tended to repress
freedom of discussion, and to enforce this
principle, that no noble lord should state
his opinions fairly and conscientiously, and
support those opinions by such arguments
as he could adduce, provided those high
authorities amongst their lordships, for
whom no man entertained a more.sincere






121 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


respect than he did, had previously de-
livered opinions of a contrary nature.
This, however, should never prevent him
from stating his sentiments. On the
second reading of the present bill, when
he heard the opinion of the right reverend
bench, or of the majority of them, given
in condemnation of the Sacramental Test,
he had abstained from delivering his sen-
timents to the House, because he waited
to see what securities could be obtained in
the committee, in exchange for that which
he considered the most important security
for church and state. He wished to see a
security fully adequate adopted in the
place of that which was removed; but he
did not think that any adequate security
was offered to the Church. Therefore, he
felt himself bound to vote against this bill,
because it would, he was confident, be
materially detrimental to the best inter-
ests of the Church. Having said so
much, he felt himself bound, in conse-
quence of the speech of the learned lord
on the woolsack, to state briefly why
he could not make up his mind con-
scientiously to vote against the con-
tinuance of the Sacramental Test. In
that feeling, he coincided with many of
the most respectable members of the
Church. He would first, look at the
subject in a political point of view; and
he would say, that whenever danger was
likely to arise to the state, on account of
religious opinion, conformity or exclusion
were the only securities that could be
adopted. Religiously speaking, he would
willingly abandon the Sacramental Test,
if any other adequate security could be
found; but when he calmly considered
the question-when it was asked whether
this holy rite was to be profaned-then
he felt that the individual who came for-
ward to take the Test, and not the law,
was guilty of profanation. The Church
was not to be invaded and her rights
trampled under foot for want of security.
Let, therefore, the Sacramental Test re-
main-let the Church stand-and let
those who profaned the sacred rite be con-
demned, and not the law.
The Earl of Roden said, as he had not
heard from any noble lord the expression
of opinions similar to those which he held
on this important bill, he would state
briefly what his opinions on the subject
were. He was one of those who conceiv-
ed it to be most important to listen to the
conscientious scruples of the Dissenters.


He thought it would be wise in the legis-
lature, if they removed from the Statute-
book that Sacramental Test which was ob-
jected to by many Christians-not only
Dissenters, but members of the Church
of England; but he was also of opinion,
that it was very important, indeed, that
some declaration should be substituted in
its place, instead of that which was now
proposed. The declaration of which he
would approve should not merely be fram-
ed to protect the temporalities of the
Church of England from apprehended
danger-it should not merely have refer-
ence to the probable occurrence of machi-
nations that might undermine it : no, he
would go much further, he would place
on record, in the strongest manner pos-
sible, the gratifying fact, that Christianity
itself was the most prominent feature of
the British constitution. But it appear-
ed to him, so far as the bill had gone, that
Christianity had been altogether overlook-
ed : that the greatest of all subjects had
been passed unnoticed; while the riches,
the temporalities, the rights, the pri-
vileges, and the immunities of the Esta-
blished Church had been carefully attend-
ed to. He, for one, lamented exceedingly
that that clause, which embraced the words,
" on the true faith of a Christian," had
been agreed to, in preference to the clause
proposed by the noble earl opposite, which
ran thus-- I do solemnly and sincerely
declare, in the presence of Almighty God,
and of his Son, our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ,"&c. He certainly regretted
that their lordships had preferred the
clause, as it now stood, to that which he
had last quoted; because, as he viewed
the clause, it appeared to him to be alto-
gether useless, so far as it regarded the
manifestation of Christian principle. And
why? Because a doubt would still re-
main as to what was the faith of a true
Christian; whereas, in the rejected clause,
the fact was expressed, and carried as
much conviction to his mind as the Sacra-
mental Test itself. He believed that the
bill, as it now stood, would not meet with
the approbation of the great body of the
Christian people of England, and that
the Dissenters themselves would not be
satisfied with it. He regretted extremely,
as a member of the Church of England,
that, in the nineteenth century, the right
rev. bench, the successors of Ridley,
Latimer, and Cranmer, should oppose
the clause, which went merely to enable


APRIL 25, 1828. 122






123 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


individuals, in a Christian state and coun-
try, to declare their belief in the law of
Jesus Christ. He had heard much from
noble lords on the other side of the House,
as to the religiouspeace which would be
secured by this measure. So far, how-
ever, from that being the case. he thought
that a great alarm existed at that moment,
both in the minds of Churchmen and Dis-
senters, on this subject. But he did think
that, even if peace were purchased at such
an expense, it would be dearly purchased
indeed.
The Bishop of Lincoln said, he believed,
that in what the noble earl had uttered
concerning the support given by the bench
of bishops to the Declaration proposed to
be introduced into the bill, he had fallen
into a serious mistake; since, in declaring
his opinion upon the insufficiency of that
Declaration, he had asserted, that the
bishops had shown a greater regard for
the temporalities than for the spiritualities
of the Church. If the proposition sub-
mitted by the noble baron, with respect
to the Declaration, had been to alter
the liturgy of the Church in conformity
to the opinions of the Dissenters, to ex-
punge from its articles some part of the
substance of its Creed, or to change its
doctrines or its discipline; if these, or
any of these, had been the objects of the
proposal, there would have been some
ground for the assertion, that the clergy
in that House had neglected the spiritual
doctrines of the Church. But what was
the question before the House? It was,
whether a portion of the two acts of par-
liament, whereby persons dissenting from
the doctrines of .the Church of England
were excluded from holding corporate
offices should be repealed? Now what
conceivable connection there was between
that proposition and the spiritual doctrines
of the Church of England, he confessed
he could not see; and he was surprised
that the noble earl should have fallen into
the error of conceiving there was any.
The facts and arguments advanced by the
noble earl could only have arisen from mis-
take of the nature of the proposition before
the House, or from a confusion of two
things, perfectly distinct in their existence;
namely, the temporalities of the Church
and its spiritual character. He would tell
their lordships, that these two things were
not connected together, and that one of
these might be destroyed without the prin-
eiple of the other being affected. The


Church might be separated from the state
-its ministers might be ejected from their
benefices-its revenues might be trans-
ferred to the support of other denomina-
tions, or diverted to secular purposes-
but still it would continue to exist as a
religious community; its believers would
meet for the purpose of performing the
act of worship, according to its creed;
and they would perform it in a decent
form, and with great scrupulousness as to
its rites, although they might be de-
prived of their places of worship. It
might be stripped of its worldly wealth,
but it would remain rich in spiritual bless-
ings. Such charges as those made by the
noble earl against the members of that
bench could only proceed from a confu-
sion of the two things to which he had
already referred, and which, he was fully
convinced, were in their nature extremely
different. The charge, however, was such,
that, though founded in mistake, he felt
himself called on immediately to deny it.
The Bishop of Chester said, he wished
also to offer a few words upon the subject
on which his right reverend brother had
just addressed the House. The observa-
tions of the noble earl seemed to show,
that he considered the Corporation and
Test acts as a religious security. Now,
he had already contended, and would re-
peat his assertion, that they were only a
political security, and that in themselves
they had no tendency to support and
maintain true religion. If it was true, as
the noble earl had represented, that the
interests of the Church were ephemeral
interests, they were so, because they were
not connected with the eternal doctrines
of the Church. The only way by which
the temporal interests of the Church could
be upheld, was by endowment. That was
all that the state troubled itself about; it
was for the Church to look to the purity
of its doctrines and to the discipline of
its forms, which ages had already sup-
ported. It was uncharitable, then, in the
noble earl to make an assertion, which, if
it were believed for one moment, could
only have the effect of undermining the
influence now possessed over the people
by the spiritual rulers of the Church. He
was sure there was no man more willing
to increase that influence than the noble
earl: his assertion, therefore, could only
be the consequence of the mistake to which
his right rev. friend had already alluded,
and to a confusion of the two things which






125 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


he had so truly described, as extremely dif-
ferent, and which had led the noble earl to
say that they were intent on the sordid in-
terests which regarded the temporalities of
the Church, rather than moved by any
high consideration for the spiritual inter-
ests of the people.
The Earl of Roden, in explanation, said,
that the right rev. prelates were mistaken
in supposing that he meant to insinuate
any thing of the kind imputed to him.
Quite the contrary. He only lamented
that they should exhibit so much indiffer-
ence to the admission of persons, dissent-
ing from the establishment into the offices
of a Christian government and state.
Lord Redesdale said, it was proposed
to do away with the Sacramental Test,
and to substitute in its stead a simple
declaration, to be made by all persons
who should be appointed to offices where
that Test had been hitherto required.
Under these circumstances, he could not
conceive any solid objection to the amend-
ment proposed by his noble and learned
friend. The only objection he had heard
was, that it was not only not necessary,
but quite superfluous; and it was argued,
that after the repeal of the Test act, the
declaration against transubstantiation
would still remain as a sufficient barrier
against the admission of Roman Catho-
lics to office. Now, he would say, that
there were many persons who were ready
to make the declaration against transub-
stantiation, but who were still very far
from being Protestants, according to the
sense of the word in which it was gene-
rally understood. He would call the at-
tention of noble lords, who were anxious
for the maintenance of an Established
Church to this fact. They should recol-
lect that there was an essential differ-
ence between a religious society regulated
by law, and a religious society which was
neither controlled nor regulated by law.
This was an important difference. The
religious society which was controlled by
law, could not do any thing inconsistent
with the law; but, on the other hand, the
religious society which was not so con-
trolled and regulated, disavowed and dis-
owned all law. He therefore objected to
the present bill, because it went to admit
to office, and to influential situations, per-
sons who belonged to religious societies
that were not regulated by law. That
was his argument against the measure.
They had upon their table a number of


petitions in favour of it from the friends
of religious liberty. The friends of re-
ligious liberty!" Did religious liberty
mean the possession of political power;
for political power, and nothing else, was
manifestly the aim of those who petitioned
in favour of the present measure? He
was somewhat surprised to find that many
persons belonging to the Established
Church of Scotland and of this country
had joined in those petitions, with the
persons who described themselves as the
friends of religious liberty. Now, there
was a difference between liberty and licen-
tiousness. True liberty was regulated by
law. But the liberty sought for by many
of these persons was not a liberty regu-
lated by law, but a liberty which could
not be regulated by law. He could see
no tenable objection to his learned friend's
amendment. It had been described as
superfluous, but that very objection af-
forded grounds for asserting that it was
not superfluous. The word which his
learned friend proposed to introduce into
the Declaration was one of great import-
ance. If a man declared that he was a
Christian and a Protestant, he would pro-
fess himself a member of a religious so-
ciety which called themselves Christians
and Protestants; and he could not belong
to that religious society who, while they
called themselves Christians, were not
Protestants,-namely, the members of
the church of Rome.
The Earl of Eldon said, that, after what
had been stated by such an authority as
the noble lord on the woolsack, he felt it
imperative to trespass on their lordships'

attention for a few moments. The noble
lord had charged him with what he called
mischievous conduct on this occasion.
He trusted that he had too long engaged
the attention of noble lords in that House
not to receive from them a patient hear-
ing, while he replied to such a charge,
coming from such a place, and such an
authority. He would say, that when the
noble lord on the woolsack had gone
through all the different situations in
which he (lord Eldon) had served that
House and the country, it would be then
imputed to the noble lord with as little
reason as it had been imputed to him,
that he was pursuing a line of conduct
calculated to produce mischievous conse-
quences. He had served his country to
the best of his abilities : he had endea-
voured to be a useful servant to the eoun.


ApitiL 25, 18,28. 126






127 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


try; and, if he were now engaged in any
thing calculated to be mischievous to the
interests of the public, he prayed to God
that he might be forgiven ; but he solemn-
ly declared that he could never be en-
gaged in any thing so mischievous as the
forwarding of this measure. He was well
aware of the fate of the amendment which
he now proposed; but such was his con-
viction of the evil consequences to be ap-
prehended from this bill in its present
form, that if he stood alone he would go
below the bar and give his vote against it;
and, were he called that night to render
his account before heaven, he would go
with the consoling reflection that he had
never advocated any thing mischievous to
his country. He cast back the imputation
which had been sought to be thrown upon
his conduct by the noble lord on the
woolsack, with all the scorn of a man who
felt himself injured. It was an imputa-
tion which he would not endure from any
quarter. The noble lord on the woolsack
had expressed a difference of opinion from
him respecting a point of law involved in
the present discussion. He would repeat
the opinion which he had already ex-
pressed, that if they passed the bill in its
present shape, Roman Catholics would be
admissible, with other Dissenters, to cor-
porations in this country. If this bill
were passed, there existed no law which
could prevent Roman Catholics from
getting into corporations. He would stake
his reputation as a lawyer upon the fact.
But, said the noble lord on the woolsack,
if the Corporation and Test acts were
repealed, there still remained the declara-
tion against transubstantiation to exclude
Roman Catholics from corporate offices;
and the noble lord, they were told, had
even taken the opinion of the Recorder of
London on the subject. Neither had he
(lord Eidon) been wanting in his inquiries;
and he found that in some places the
declaration against transubstantiation was
taken, and that in others it was not.
How did it happen that such a variation
in the practice occurred? Those two
acts being stated to apply to corporations,
and those who qualified under the Test
act being obliged to make the declara-
tion, it occurred to some petty officers of
corporations, that it was necessary to
make the declaration to qualify for corpo-
rate offices, while other officers in other
corporations entertained a different
opinion, and thus the practice varied ac-


cording to the notions of those who called
on persons to qualify. Under these cir-
cumstances, he had no way left for de-
ciding the matter but by looking at the
acts themselves. He would assert, and
he would make the assertion were he now
upon his judicial oath, that persons who
came into corporations were not bound to
attend to the enactments of the Test act.
What was the intention of those who
passed the Test act? After the Corpo-
ration act had been passed, and was in
full force, did they mean to do this-to
say that a man who, under the Corporation
act had, in the preceding twelve months,
taken the Sacramental Test, should take
it again in six months as a qualification
under the Test act? These two acts
would then so far differ, that the one re-
quired the Sacramental Test as an ante-
cedent qualification, and the other re-
quired it to be taken as a subsequent qua-
lification. Unless, then, it could be shown
that the subsequent act called for a sub-
sequent or second qualification in those
who had been admitted to corporate
offices, the argument as to the declara-
tion prescribed by the Test act fell to the
ground. He (lord Eldon) must act upon
his opinion, and that opinion was, that
under the Test act, no man was bound to
make the declaration against transubstan-
tiation in his mere corporate character or
capacity. But if a man were appointed a
justice of the peace, by virtue of his office
and in his public character, he would be
bound to take the declaration against
transubstantiation, which in his mere cha-
racter of corporator he would not be
bound to take. It was on this account
that he was anxious to have the words
proposed in his amendment introduced
into the Declaration, and he was deter-
mined to take the sense of their lordships
upon it. Respecting the governing mem-
bers of corporations being, as it was as-
serted, magistrates, and therefore obliged
to take the declaration against transub-
stantiation, he had the authority of lord
Coke for saying, that a mayor as a mayor,
or an alderman as an alderman, were not
justices of the peace, and their mode of
qualifying for office was perfectly distinct.
He had reason to believe, that the opinions
of the learned lord on the woolsack re-
specting the repeal of the Corporation and
Test acts had been changed within the last
few days. As one of its members, it must
be supposed that the learned lord was a






129 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


party to the determination of government
to oppose this bill on its first introduction.
He trusted that the learned lord having now
yielded his opinions on the subject to
those of others, would not attack the mo-
tives of those who still maintained that
opposition, which it was his original in-
tention to offer to this bill. No doubt the
learned lord had, for very satisfactory
reasons, receded from his opinions; but
he should deal fairly towards those who
still adhered to the opinions which he had
thought proper to abandon. It was rather
hard, under these circumstances, that his
conduct should be held up to contempt,
because he opposed this bill. Intentions
had been imputed to him which he most
solemnly disavowed. He considered the
supporters of the measure as actuated by
conscientious motives, and he only asked
them to judge with equal fairness of the
motives which actuated his conduct. He
did think that this was a most mischiev-
ous measure; and for such a declaration
he was ready to answer at the bar of his
country. He repeated, that he considered
this bill a most pernicious measure [a
laugh]. Noble lords treated this with a
laugh. He was glad to find that he was
able to give noble lords some entertain-
ment. He would again assert, that the
present measure went to destroy the unity
established, by the constitution of the
country, between the Church and the
State. The measure was nothing more
nor less than an attack upon the constitu-
tion of the country. It had been one of
the consequences of that march of in-
tellect," and that liberality" of which
they had heard so much; and sure he
was, that in the progress of time this and
similar marches would succeed in uproot-
ing the foundations of all that constituted
the happiness and glory of this country.
Much praise had been bestowed, by the
supporters of this bill, upon the clergy
and the members of the Established
Church, on account of the small number
of petitions presented from them against
it. He did not know that they were to
be praised for resting upon their oars. If
restless activity on the one side was only
to be met by dormant apathy on the other,
let the consequences rest upon them, and
not upon him. No individual could en-
tertain a higher respect for the bench of
bishops than he did. He venerated them
as a body, and each individual amongst
them commanded his respect; but they
Y91 XIX,


must pardon him for saying, that he did
not conceive that their support of this
measure was calculated to strengthen the
Established Church. He wished to God
that reverend'prelates and noble lords had
read the petitions which had been pre-
sented in favour of this measure. He
had: looked into most of them, and when
this discussion should terminate, he would
rather suffer death than have it told that
he supported this bill. From the pe-
titions presented in favour of this bill, it
was easy to discover the intentions of the
petitioners, and to perceive that the mea-
sure was founded upon revolutionary prin-
ciples. He knew well how these numerous
petitions had been got up: nothing more
was necessary than to establish a commit-
tee in London, and to open communica-
tions with the various Dissenters through-
out the country. Then the plan was, to
send three forms of petitions to the Dis-
senting ministers in each parish: one was
to be presented to the Dissenters for sig-
nature ; the next was intended to be shown
to such of the Established Clergy as they
might reckon upon joining with them;
and the third form of petition was for
those liberal-minded persons whose en-
lightened views of things far exceeded
those which he or any simple Church-of-
England-man entertained. IHe would
repeat, that his conduct on this occasion
did not deserve the language which had
been applied to it. His efforts might
prove unsuccessful, but he should have
the satisfaction to reflect, that he had
done his duty to his country and to his
king, whom they obliged to take a test,
from which they were pleased, by this
measure, to relieve his subjects.
The Duke of Newcastle said, he had a
decided objection to the repeal of the
Corporation and Test acts; and he felt
more strongly opposed to that repeal, as
he was convinced that the present con-
cession had been made, in consequence of
the clamour which had been raised upon
the subject, within as well as without that
House. He considered the Corporation
and Test acts to be the strongest barriers
to the inroads upon the constitution in
Church and State. But, if they were to
be repealed, something like an equivalent
security should be provided in their stead.
He considered the Declaration as it stood,
quite nugatory, as a security. They
had obtained something like an approach to
an ackuowledgmente of Qhirtianity iR iti
F


APPim 25, 1828.






'Cbporati6n and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 132


but that had only been gained by hard
fighting. He regretted that any of the
right ret. prelates had given their support
to the bill. At what time had there been
greater liberty of conscience, than during
the existence of the Test and Corpo-
ration acts ? In every view which he
could take of this subject, he thought
it was most inexpedient for the go-
vernment to give their support to such
a measure. For his own part, with
every respect for the high character of the
noble duke at the head of the government,
he could not consent to the enactment of
this bill, unless it was accompanied by a
full acknowledgment of Christianity, and
of the predominancy of the Established
Church.
The Bishop of Gloucester said, that it
had been a very prevalent opinion, that
the political introduction of the Sacra-
mental Test was liable to abuse and pro-
fanation. Now, he well knew that many
pious and excellent men were of a con-
trary opinion to this; and when such a
contrariety of opinions existed, it was their
*duty to endeavour to find out which side
preponderated. But, in addition to the
arguments that could be adduced on
either side, there was a strong moral feel-
ing in his mind-so strong, that it weighed
more with him than all those arguments.
It was because the Test act had long been
a dead letter-a thing in existence but
never in use-that he voted for the present
bill. The Test had been made use of in
former times, and perhaps it was then
proper; but it had now become obso-
lete. He had voted for the Declaration
that was introduced into the bill-not
because it formed a stronger bulwark than
the Sacramental Test, as far as the Dissen-
ters were concerned, but because he con-
sidered it as a Declaration, on the part of
the legislature, the laws, and the govern-
suent, of the country, that, to the best of
their power, they would support and up-
hold the doctrine, discipline, and govern-
ment, of the Church of England. In
giving his assent to the amendment of the
noble and learned lord, it was not because
he thought that it was of any force or
validity, but rather because he knew that
there was a feeling abroad-and that too,
among very excellent persons that in
bringing in this bill in behalf of the Dis-
senters, they were at the same time open-
ing the door to the claims of the Roman
Catholics. 'Such, however, was certainly,


not his opinion; for he thought that the
Oath of Supremacy was a sufficient guard
against the Roman Catholics; unless
indeed (which he did not believe) they
could procure a dispensation for taking
such an Oath; and if that were to be the
case, he should then like to know how
this Declaration, let it be shaped in what
way their lordships pleased, could form a *
security.
The question was then put upon the
amendment for introducing into the
Declaration the words I am a Protes-
tant," when the House divided : For the
Amendment, present, 43; Proxies, 12-
55; Against it, present, 73 ; Proxies, 44-
117; Majority against the Amendment,
62.
The Earl of Winchilsea then proposed
his amendment, that after the word "that"
in the Declaration, be inserted these words,
"I believe the canonical books of the
Old and New Testament, as set forth by
the laws of this realm, to be the revealed
word of God." He professed to regard this
great question upon principles involved in
the broad basis of Christianity, and not
with reference to the tenets of any par-
ticular sect. In taking up that general
position, he must be permitted to protest
against the doctrines propounded by the
government in their support of this bill,
and more particularly against the opinion
of one noble lord opposite, who had de-
clared, that the religion of a man did not
signify in considering his qualification for
civil office. Such an opinion was de-
cidedly at variance with the spirit and
provisions of the great institutions of this
country. He would maintain that exclu-
sion from political power, and persecution,
were not, as some people thought, synony-
mous terms. In examining the prayer
of the petitions presented from the Dissen-
ters in support of this bill, he found them
all claiming credit for a belief in Chris-
tianity; while he could positively affirm,
that some of them were no more entitled
to the appellation of Christians, than the
followers of Mahomet; indeed, not so
much; for while the former denied the
existence of Christ, the Mahometan be-
lieved in it. He therefore called upon
the government and the prelacy to support
him in this attempt to uphold the estab-
lishment of Christianity.
The Bishop of Chester said, it appeared
to him that the state of the question was
materially altered since the former amend-


tal HOUSE OF LORDS,,






133 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


meat that had been moved by the noble
earl. It had then seemed to be the pretty
general feeling of the House, that there
should be a call on every person, coming
within the meaning of this bill, to declare
himself a Christian; and with the sub-
stance of that feeling, he, too, agreed: but
if the wish merely was, that every man
should declare himself a Christian, he
thought that the words that had been in-
troduced-" on the true faith of a Chris-
tian "-were quite sufficient to answer that
purpose; and, indeed, as every man in this
country, had a right, prima facie, to be
considered as a Christian, until actual
proof was brought to the contrary, he
thought that the security was ample:
and, in the name of all that was reasonable
and tolerant, he thought they ought to be
content with such a Declaration. As the
Declaration now stood, whoever made it,
professed his belief in the Scriptures; and
he therefore thought it needless to embar-
rass the formula, by adding unnecessary
matter.
The Bishop of Llandaff thought the
amendment unnecessary. It was already
provided, that the Deelaration should be
taken on the faith of a C'htii.tia ; and he
could not conceive how any person who
called himself a Christian, could deny
that the canonical books of the Old and of
the New Testament contained the revealed
will of God. The amendment was objec-
tionable on another ground. A Mahometan
might subscribe to the Declaration, as the
noble earl had worded it; for it was un-
questionable, that the Mahometan agreed
with the Christian in th1iukbl., that the
five books of Moses, and the four Gospels,
were composed under the immediate in-
spiration of God. For these reasons he
should object to the amendment, which he
did not consider to be so good a Test as
that which he had proposed himself.
The House divided : For the Amend-
ment 22; Against it 70; Majority 48.
The Lord Chancellor said, he had pro-
mised their lordships in the committee,
that if they would agree to the last clause
but one, and to the last clause but two in
the bill as they then stood, he would, at a
future period, substitute for them clauses
of a more definite nature. He now rose
to make good that promise. One mode
of making that substitution was by nam-
ing expressly the different offices of which,
the holders, were not to be required to
make the. Declaration.. Another mode


was, by declaring that all persons who
were bound to take the Sacramental Test
should subscribe the Declaration, with cer-
tain exceptions. He preferred the latter
mode. He should therefore propose a
clause, enacting, that all persons who were
now bound to take the Sacramental Test
on their admission into office, should, in
future, take the Declaration in this bill in
lieu of it. It was clear, however, that if
this enactment were carried literally into
effect, it would apply to the holders of
many small and insignificant offices; and
the calling upon them to make such a
Declaration would throw a degree of ridi-
cule upon it, which would be highly impo-
litic. He therefore proposed to name the
exceptions. At first he thought that this
would be impossible; but on reverting to
an act passed in the fifth year of the pre-
sent king, he found the very thing done
which he was desirous of accomplishing.
By that act it was provided, that the acts
calling on those who entered upon offices
and employment to take the Sacramental
Test within a limited time, should not ex-
tend to any commissioners of taxes, cus-
toms, excise, or stamps, or to any persons
engaged in the collection of the revenue
under them. He should therefore adopt
the language of that act, and frame one
of the clauses of which he had given no-
tice out of it. It had been likewise sug-
gested that it would be proper to include
in the exception, officers in the army and
navy, below a certain rank. He had en-
deavoured to meet that suggestion. Hav-
ing now stated the effect of his two clauses,
the best plan, perhaps, would be to have
them read.
The clauses were read and agreed to.
The Earl of Falmouth said, that he, too,
had an amendment to propose. It related
to the disposal of patronage in the Church
by corporate bodies, and was as follows:-
Whereas, for the due security of the
Church, it is expedient that provision be
made for the proper presentation of eccle-
siastical benefices belonging to corpora-
tions in the kingdom of England and
Wales, be it enacted, that from and after
the passing of this act, no person, being
*a member of a corporation, shall present,
nominate, or appoint, or take a part in
:presenting, nominating, or appointing, any
clergyman to any ecclesiastical benefice in
the gift of the corporation of which he is
a member, until he shall make and sub-
scribe- the following Declaration. 'I, A. B.,
F2


APRnL 25, 1828. 134






135 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


' do declare my assent and consent to the
' book of Common Prayer and administra-
' tion of the holy Sacrament, and to the
' thirty-nine articles of the Church of
' England comprised therein.'"-He might
be told, that there existed already a suffi-
cient security against any abuse of the
patronage which corporations exercised
over ecclesiastical benefices, in the,,cir-
cumstance, that every person upon whom
they were bestowed must subscribe to the
thirty-nine articles, and conform to the
book of Common Prayer. This, however,
was a security which only affected the re-
ceiver; and his object was to make it
apply, in future, to the dispensers of eccle-
siastical patronage. Their lordships would
recollect, that Roman Catholics-so jea-
lous was the constitution-were nottrusted
with the disposal of any part of the pa-
tronage of the Church of England. He
was sure that parliament, acting upon the
principle of preventing those from inter-
fering with the government of the Church,
who did not believe in its doctrines, never
could have intended to let the Dissenters
have any interest in the disposal of the
patronage of the Church, much less to
dispose of it as they might think most ex-
pedient. He wished to prevent the pos-
sibility of any benefices in the Church of
England being filled by persons who,
though they professed an outward con-
formity to the Established Church, were
Dissenters at heart. Again, if there was
security at present, he wished to increase
it; and he thought he was acting wisely
in attempting to gain that object, when
their lordships were dispensing with a bill
which he conceived to have been a most
effectual check upon the parties against
whom it was aimed. The noble lord con-
cluded by moving the said clause.
Lord Ellenborough objected to the
clause, as being useless and unnecessary,
We had already a much stronger security
for it in the subscription to the thirty-nine
articles, which every bishop had a right tc
ask, and in point of fact did ask, from
every new incumbent within his diocese.
His noble friend had grossly exaggerated
the danger likely to accrue to the Church
from this measure. No danger coulk
arise from the disposal of Church prefer.
ment by corporations, until the Dissenter
obtained a majority in those corporations
His noble friend had talked of the prin.
ciple upon which he rested this amendment
Iad, his noble friend considered the lengtl


to which he must carry his principle, if he
once established it? He must deprive
every lay Dissenter, in his individual ca-
pacity, of the same power which he was
now so anxious to take from him in a cor-
porate capacity.
The Bishop of Llandaff thought the
amendment unnecessary. The noble earl
had argued as if the bishops had nothing
to do with a new incumbent, but to call
for his signature to the thirty-nine articles.
Surely the noble earl could not have for-
gotten that the incumbent presented to
the bishop must be an ordained member
of the Church of England-that he must
have been educated in the Church of
England-that he must subscribe to her
articles-that he must have been examined
by one of her bishops, or his chaplain, as
to his fitness for the holy office-and that
all this must take place before he was in
a situation to receive preferment. The
noble earl appeared to him to reason very
curiously, from the law which prevented
Roman Catholics from presenting to be-
nefices in the Church of England. He
said, it was a proof that parliament wished
to confine the disposal of the patronage of
the Church to those who conformed to its
doctrines and worship. Now, he looked
upon it in a different light. The strong
proof, that parliament marked out the case
of the Roman Catholics as peculiar, was
to be found in the fact, that it left the
disposal of the very same patronage which
it took away from the Roman Catholics,
in the hands of lay Dissenters. Parlia-
ment had made no law of exclusion, on
this subject, for the Dissenter; and he
would say, that such a law could not be
vindicated upon the ground either ofjustice
or expediency. He regarded the law
which deprived Roman Catholics of the
right of presenting to the benefices which
Formed part of their estates as a harsh in-
terference with the rights of property, and
as a miserable relique of those penal laws
i which he wished obliterated from the
SStatute-book. He could not see the
I likelihood of any danger arising from
Sallowing to Dissenters the right to pre-
sent to benefices, for the benefices must
I be bestowed upon the clergy of the
- Established Church. He would ask
s the noble lord, whether there had ever
Come to his knowledge an instance of a
- Dissenter having exercised his right of
Presentation, to the disgrace or detriment
Sof the Established Church? If 9no nci'






APRIL 25, 1828. 138


instance had come within the noble earl's
knowledge, then was he conjuring up
imaginary grievances to frighten himself
and his friends, which the sooner they got
rid of the better for all parties.
The clause was negatived.
The Bishop of Llandaff said, it was his
intention, on the third reading of the bill,
to propose another clause. He had upon
a former occasion, expressed his dissatis-
faction at the present Declaration. As it
stood, he considered it utterly unworthy
of their lordships. It was now converted
into an oath [cries of "no, no,"]: he
maintained that it was; for a Declaration
solemnly made in the face of God was an
oath, even though the words "So help
me God were not attached to it. It was
converted, he said, into an oath; and his
objection to it was the awkwardness of the
situation in which it placed the Dissenters.
It was to be administered to all persons
upon their admission into civil offices.
Now, he calculated that nine-tenths of the
persons who would be called upon to take
it would be of that description on which
it was never intended to be imposed. He
should therefore contend, on the principle
that the legislature ought not needlessly
to multiply oaths, that it was unworthy
of the House to frame the Declaration in
the invidious form in which it now stood.
He had wished their lordships to make the
persons who entered upon office declare,
that, so far as concerned the duties of
their office, they would respect and main-
tain the rights and privileges of the Es-
tablished Church." That Declaration was
objected to, [on account of the inconve-
nience it was likely to cause to some con-
sciences. He had yielded to the objection,
and did not press his amendment. He
must, however, say, that all his subsequent
impressions confirmed the correctness of
his original opinion. The object which
he had in view would be obtained by the
insertion of a short clause, of which the
tenour would be, that those persons who
were members of the Church of England
should not be called upon to take this
Declaration upon their admission into
office.
The report was brought up, and the bill,
as amended, was ordered to be printed.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Friday, April 25.
RoM a CATHIOLIC ASSOCIATION--


PETITION OF THE CORPORATION OF
DUBLIN AGAINST.] Mr. Moore said, he
rose to present a Petition from the Cor-
poration of Dublin, against the Roman
Catholic Association. The petitioners
commenced by stating, that being the
body from whom the magistrates of Dublin
were selected, they felt it to be their duty,
to call the attention of the House to a
Society which they thought calculated to
injure the peace of Dublin, and to pray
that the House would adopt prompt mea-
sures to suppress it. He need not remind
the House, that the proceedings of the old
Catholic Association, previous to 1825,
were such as to call the attention of go-
vernment to them. The danger that was
apprehended had been submitted to the
legislature, and a great majority in both
Houses had come to the conclusion, that
the Association was dangerous. This
opinion had been further evinced in the
bill passed in 1825, called the Unlawful
Society bill. To this law the old Catholic
Association had affected to submit; but
scarcely was [that submission professed,
before a new Association sprung up,
which, while it pretended to coincide with
the bill, was, in fact, totally hostile to its
essence. That bill directed its enactment
against certain societies, which it pro-
nounced illegal, but contained exceptions
in favour of societies for certain objects.
When, therefore, the Catholic Association
again sprung up, it assumed a form which
came within what was legal under the act,
though, in truth, it preserved the same
character, and was supported by the same
persons as before. When it assumed the
same character in its operations of directing
themotions of the Catholics, and controlling
the proceedings of the Protestants-when
it interfered, by the expression of its
opinions, in all great measures of policy
which came under the attention of the
legislature, he thought that every objec-
tion which was urged successfully against
the Association in 1825, would lie with
the same, or greater, force, against the
Association now existing in Dublin. Many
plans, then in a state of incipiency, had
now reached their maturity-many ob-
jects, then limited in their nature, had now
been reared up to an almost indefinite ex-
tent. He called the attention of the
House to the connexion which notoriously
subsisted between this Association, as a
political body, and the Catholic priesthood
-to the collectors of the Catholic rent,


Roman Catholic Association.,






109 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


Malcolm, N.
Maryatt, J.
Martin, sir T. B.
Maxwell, H.
Moore, G.
Mountcharles, earl
Morrison, J.
Norton, G. C.
North, J. H.
Owen, sir E.
Pettit, L. H.
Prlmerston, lord
Peachy, general
Peel, right hon. R.
Peel, Laurence
Prendergast, M. G.
Robinson, G. B.
Rose, sir G.
Rae, sir W.
M
Bernal, Ralph
Carter, J. B.
Clive, E. B.
Compton, Samuel
Denison, W. J.
Dundas, hon. T.
Dundas, H. G.
Dundas, sir R.
Ducane, P.
Easthope, J.
Ebrington, lord
Ennismore, lord
Fergusson, sir R.
Forbes, John
Gordon, Robert
Graham, sir J.
Grattan, James
Iarvey, D. W.
ITeneage, G. F.
Hume, Joseph
Knight, R.
Lumrley, S.
Marjoribanks, S.


Ross, John
Saunderson, A.
Scarlett, sir J.
Sibthorpe, C. D. W.
Somerset, lord E.
Spottiswoode, A.
Sugden, E. B.
Trant, H.
Talmash, L.
Talmash, F.
Thynne, lord W.
Tindal, sir N. C.
Ure, Masterton
Villiers, T. H.
Wetherall, sir C.
Wortley, hon. L. S.
TELLERS.
Sir G. Clerk
J. Planta.
MINORITY.
Martin, John
Marshall, William
Maberly, colonel
Maberly, John
Palmer, C. F.
Pendarves, E. W.
Ponsonby, hon. F.
Protheroe, E.
Russell, lord W.
Sebright, sir J.
Smith, W.
Stuart, II. V.
Townshend, lord C.
Twiss, Horace
Waithman, alderman
Warburton, H.
Wilbraham, G.
Wood, alderman
Wood, John
TELLERS.
Lord Rancliffe,
M. A. Taylor.


IOUSE OF LORDS.
Friday, April 25.
CORPORATION AND TEST ACTS REPEAL
BILL.] On the order of the day for taking
the Reporton this bill into further consider-
ation,
The Earl of Eldon said, that, having an
alteration to propose in the preamble of
the second clause, he should move that
the following words be left out: -
" And whereas the Protestant Episcopal
Church of England and Ireland, and the
doctrine, discipline, and government,
thereof, and the Protestant Presbyterian
Church of Scotland, and the doctrine,
discipline, and government, thereof, are
by the laws of this realm severally estab-
lished permanently and inviolably." His


reason for wishing those words to be left
out was, because he thought that that
clause had been most insidiously intro-
duced into those bills, from which it had
been most incautiously borrowed. The
preamble set forth that the doctrine,
discipline, and government, of the Church
were severally secured and yet they
could not be secured if the laws of
the realm were altered with respect to
that which no man living could doubt
were acts which, by the Union, were
meant to be preserved as statutes then in
force for the security of the Church of
England. He strongly contended, that
their lordships ought not to leave this
clause standing as part of the present bill.
It was not, however, his intention to divide
the House upon his motion; his object in
moving it being merely to have it entered
upon the Journals.
Earl Grey hoped, that the assurance of
the learned earl, that he would merely
move his amendment pro forma, would be
better observed than a similar assurance
made by the same noble earl last night
had been. He had then assured their
lordships, that he had no intention of
dividing the House upon an amendment
proposed by him, his only object being to
have it entered upon the Journals; upon
the faith of which assurance, several noble
lords went away. Nevertheless, the
learned earl thought proper afterwards to
divide the House upon his motion, behind
the backs of those noble lords who had so
left the House. In point of order, it was
not competent to the learned earl to make
this proposition now ; for their lordships
had already passed the preamble of the
bill. The learned earl, their lordships
would recollect, had moved the introduc-
tion of certain words into the preamble of
the bill. That proposition was negatived.
Their lordships then proceeded beyond
the preamble, and the learned earl moved
the introduction of the words that I am
a Protestant" into the Declaration. Now,
that motion was under discussion, when it
was agreed, in order to give noble lords an
opportunity of more maturely considering
its effects, to adjourn the further discussion
of it until to-day. Therefore, he repeated,
that in point of order, it was impossible for
the learned earl to make his present pro-
position in this stage of the bill. But it
would be competent to him, at a future
period, when the clause came to be put,
to object to it altogether; or he might


APRIL '25, 1828. Ito






139 HOUSE OF COMMONS,


the existence of Catholic agents, and the
general organization of a system of concert
pervading the whole Catholic community.
Was it then too much to designate this
great political body, existing in Ireland,
as a most frightful political anomaly ? It
was, in truth, a distinct government in
Ireland, moving in the sphere of the
legitimate authority; often eclipsing
that authority as it moved in its orbit,
and always, by its attraction and its powers,
deranging the whole social and political
system. It required little acuteness to
perceive the baneful influence which
such a power exercised over the Catholic
population. But there were some things
connected with the existence of this
Association still more dangerous. He
alluded to the existence of other associa-
tions of a most sanguinary character,
which received countenance from the
toleration of the Catholic Association.
God forbid he should say that that Asso-
ciation had any participation in the acts
of ribbon-men. He knew there were
many gentlemen of the highest character
among the members of that Association.
Nothing could be further from his inten-
tion than to cast the slightest imputation
up'n the character of any member of that
body; but men of the most honourable
mind, when ardently engaged in the pur-
suit of any object, often overlooked the
dangerous tendency of those schemes by
which they sought to accomplish their
purpose; and it could not, he thought,
be denied, that the societies of ribbon-
men, and other societies of the same de-
scription, must be supposed to receive
some encouragement from the example
held out to them of an Association exist-
ing in the metropolis of the kingdom, self-
constituted, and apparently totally inde-
pendent of the government, and regard-
less of its authority. That a connection,
however, of this kind, arising out of the
species of toleration afforded to the Asso-
ci tion did exist, was a fact which could
not be a matter of doubt. The news-
papers of the day showed but too plainly
the influence the Association exercised
over the feelings of the people. There
was a fact, however, which had come to
his knowledge, and which proved beyond
all controversy, the tacit kind of connec-
tion which existed between the Associ-
ation and the Irish people. The fact to
which he referred was connected with the
conduct of the right hon. member for


Waterford. The House would recollect,
that an hon. member, last year, had brought
in a bill, called the Irish Subletting act.
The right hon. baronet, the member for
Waterford, presented a petition against
that bill, but he, at the same time, avow-
ed, with the greatest manliness, that he
was friendly to the principle of that bill.
For this honest declaration, the right hon.
baronet was denounced by the Association,
and his conduct arraigned before their tri-
bunal. With a species of independence
worthy of a British senator, the right hon.
baronet defended himself against their
accusations; and within eight and forty
hours after the letter which contained that
defence was published, an extensive range
of fences which he had erected on his
estate was, in one night, levelled with the
ground. He did not mean to say that
this outrage was perpetrated with the con-
nivance of any member of the Association,
but he contended that it showed clearly
how much the mind of the public was in-
fluenced by its declarations. If he was
asked to point out a remedy for the griev-
ance, he confessed he was not prepared to
do so. It was not for him either to say
with what feelings the government might
regard the proceedings of this body, or
what information they might possess upon
the subject, which induced them to forbear
from visiting their offences with prosecu-
tion; but he would say, that there seemed
to him to be a strong similarity of feeling
and of action between the new Association
and the old. He implored the friends of
Catholic emancipation to raise their warn-
ing voice to the Catholic people, and to
call upon them, as they valued the success
of the cause they espoused, to extinguish
a faction which, by its language and its
principles, at the present moment, defeat-
ed all the exertions of the advocates of the
Catholics, and might ultimately bring upon
the country that most horrible of all mis-
fortunes, a civil war.
Mr. Spring Rice said, he rose for the
purpose of seconding the motion. He
must call the attention of the House to
the peculiar circumstances under which
this petition came before them, and to the
peculiar character of the speech by which
it had been introduced. He recollected
the discussions on the Catholic question
for the last ten years, and had observed
that, in every case, when the discussion
was approaching, some hon. gentleman
had brought forward some question which


~Roma~ln Catholic Association, &c.






141 Corn Laws.
raised an angry discussion, and induced
gentlemen to come to the main question
with warm and angry minds. He did not
mean to say that the hon. gentleman's
speech was intended for that purpose, but
certainly it was well calculated to have
that effect. As to the Catholic Associa-
tion, he cared neither for its censure nor
its applause: they were alike indifferent to
him; but he must say, that the instance
which the hon. member had adduced com-
pletely proved that the Association had no
control over them. It was quite clear,
from the hon. members own showing, that
legislation had failed to suppress it. He
readily admitted the dangers that might
result from the Association; but the ques-
tion was, how was it to be suppressed?
He, and those who were of his opinion,
declared that Catholic emancipation alone
could bring about that desirable object.
This was the remedy they proposed. The
hon. gentleman had found that legislation
was no remedy, and he had no other to
propose. He thought, however, that the
hon. member was bound, as he refused all
liberal propositions, to bring forward some
measure, which would show the principles
upon which he would govern Ireland.
Ordered to lie on the table.

CoRN LAWS.] Mr. C. Grant moved
the order of the day, for the House resolv-
ing itself into a Committee of the whole
House on the Corn Laws. On the motion,
that the Speaker do leave the chair,
Mr. Leycester thought the proposed re-
solutions highly objectionable. They tend-
ed to create a scarcity at one time, and a
glut at another. The consequence would
be, that the consumer would be injured by
there being no importation at a period
when importation was most wanted, and
the grower would be injured by there being
an excess of foreign grain in the market
at a period when he could least afford it.
Mr. R. King said, that with the pre-
sent state of the currency and the exist-
ing taxation, it would be impossible to
afford to agriculturists that protection to
which they were entitled. The House
could not divest the consideration of the
Corn question from that of the currency;
and the principle of the currency ought to
be brought into full operation, before any
decision was come to on the present sub-
ject. He could not forget, that the return
to cash payments had been attended with
more ruinous consequences to the agricul-


APRIL 25, 1828. 142
tourist than any thing that had been brought
about by the war. But, in urging the ne-
cessity of affording protection to the land-
ed interest, he disclaimed the slightest
wish of subjecting the manufacturing
classes to a burthen which they could not
bear. Nothing was further from his in-
tention.
The House then went into the com-
mittee, and the chairman read the reso-
lutions seriatim.
Mr. Benett said, he flattered himself
that the resolutions he was about to pro-
pose were so nearly like those submitted
by the right hon. gentleman opposite, that
he would at once accede to them. The
resolutions he had drawn up, also ap-
proached very nearly to those which the
hon. member for Dorsetshire moved last
year. He proposed, then, that when the
price was under 56s. per quarter, imperial
measure, the duty should be 38s. 8d., that
duty to decrease 2s. for every increase of
Is. in price. When the price reached 70s.,
he proposed that the duty should decrease
3s. for every rise of Is. in price. It ap-
peared to be conceded on all hands, that a
fair profit must be allowed to the cultivator
of the land, otherwise it could not be ex-
pected that he could pay his rates, and
that proportion of taxation which was in-
cidental to the land. He, for one, thought,
that the protection ought to be extended
to 62s. 8d. He agreed with government
as to the precise point of price from whence
the ascending and descending scale of
duty ought to start. That, indeed, was
now, it might be said, conceded as a given
point, by almost all persons interested in
the question. It appeared to be the prin-
ciple of the government scale of duties for
the present year, that for every shilling that
wheat diminished in price from 62s., a
duty of an additional shilling per quarter
was to be added. Thus, the duty on.
wheat, when the price was 62s. being fixed
and conceded at 24s. 8d.; upon the price
falling to 61s., the duty became 25s. 8d.;
when 60., 26s. 8d.; when 59s., 27s. 8d.;
and so on until the price reached 55s.,
when the duty was to be 31s. 8d. Such
was the proposed scale of government to
afford protection to the agriculturist. In-
stead of this protection, which he consi-
dered objectionable in several respects, he
should, in the course of the evening, pro-
pose a scale of duties which, taking 62s.
as the medium or pivot price, were to be
arranged so as to create on every shilling






143 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
which wheat decreased in price, an in-
.crease of duty to the extent of 2s. Tak-
ing, therefore, the duty at 24s. 8d. on
wheat at 62s., when it fell to 61s. the
duty would rise, according to his plan,
to 26s. 8d.; when it fell to 60s., the duty
.would rise to 28s. 8d.; and when it reach-
ed the minimum 55s., it would be exactly
.38s. 8d. per quarter. The difference be-
.tween his principle and that of govern-
ment was, that he put the higher rate of
Sduty on the lower-priced corn imported,
which was the sort of protection the agri-
cultural interest required; instead of
which, the scale of duties proposed by
government, put the higher rate of duty
on the higher priced corn imported;
which was, in fact, not the description of
protection they felt would be desirable. His
project would extend protection, through
the medium of the duties he proposed, so
as to be sensibly felt, to 56s. per quarter
as the importation price; whilst that
offered the agriculturists, through the go-
vernment scale, was only sensibly felt
.to the extent of 58s. per quarter. The
protection afforded by the resolutions of
1827, and those now under consideration,
corresponded so far as respected the im-
portation price of wheat at 58s.; and here
was the only instance in which they were
alike. In both these scales the duty was
28s. 8d., whereas his would, in this in-
stance, be a duty of 32s. 8d. He
certainly wished to have the agri-
culturist effectively protected against an
influx of foreign grain, until the price
of wheat reached 62s. per quarter, which
was as high a protection as he could get
from ministers, or from that House. The
Scale of last year's duty had the effect of
creating a protection to the landed interest
of Is. more per quarter than that of the
scale now proposed by government. He
begged to be understood, that his was not a
proposition to increase the scale of duties,
but to increase the protection which all
admitted it was desirable to extend to the
agriculturalists; and also a proposition
which tended to decrease that scale of
duties,' when they were no longer so
essential as a protection to the land-owner,
whilst they must necessarily have the
effect of protecting the importer of foreign
wheat, after corn had risen to the pivot
Price; as they very perceptibly decreased
when the price attained 62s., contrasted
with the duties recommended to the adop-
tion of thq House by his majesty's govern-


Corn Laws. 144
ment. It was admitted on all hands, that
it was for the interest of the community
that protection should be given to the
agriculturist, in order to enable him to
meet the heavy demands on the land in
the way of rates, and other liabilities; but
the most important of all admissions was,
that it was not possible England could
reckon on a regular supply adequate to its
wants, except from its own agricultural
means.-The right hon. gentleman oppo-
site had remarked, that if his resolutions
were agreed to by the House, the agri-
culturist would experience a protection, as
long as the price was not above 58s.
He could not see how this could be, if
wheat could be imported from the con-
tinent at 29s. 4d. per quarter. With the
duty at 28s. 8d., it was clear that wheat
might be imported at 29s. 4d. into this
country. All this proved the fallacy of
the assumption of last year, that wheat
could not be imported into this country
without paying for it in foreign ports,
a price amounting to 34s. per quarter;
because, if the scale of duty fixed by last
year's resolutions was, at 58s., 28s. 8d.,
then it must be clear the price left to the
importer, when the duty should have been
paid, would not exceed, including all
charges of transit and freight, 29s. 4d.
This was a fair specimen of the fallacious
style of the arguments he had to contend
with. Indeed, so far from this being true,
corn of the best quality had been im-
ported last year, in any quantity, and all
expenses paid thereon, at so low a price
to the importer as 22s. per quarter [" No,
no," from Mr. C. Grant.] He had taken
considerable pains in forming the calcu-
lations on which he framed his proposi-
tions, and he had every reason to believe
they were correct. Hence he was em-
boldened to assert, that, with an import
duty of 28s. 8d., there was left a clear
remuneration to the importer of 29s.
4d., when wheat was selling in this country
at 58s. It was clear, then, that he
only sought from the committee a fair
protecting duty to the agriculturist at
home. When the price rose to 62s., which
was considered high, then, as the duty
was no more than 24s. 8d., the importer
had 37s. 4d. given him for the wheat he
brought here. He felt disposed to decrease
the duty rapidly after wheat had passed
62s.; for the higher it rose the less the
agriculturist required any protection. But
he had good reason to believe, that it was





145 Corn Laws.
not so muchin the contemplation of govern-
ment to increase the protection to the landed
proprietor, as to create a permanent source
of revenue through the medium of these
duties. If such was the object of govern-
ment, he would suggest a few alterations
which would accomplish that object. It
had been said, in arguing this question,
that notwithstanding the great fall which
had taken place in the price of wheat,
from 62s. to 52s., the agricultural interest
had not suffered proportionally in the
price received for the article thus raised
from the land, but the difference of price
was repaid by the fall experienced in
the remuneration for manual labour; or,
in other words, that the farmer had
squeezed the difference out of the wages
of the labourer. Now, this reduction in
the price of manual labour was effected in
consequence of what was said of the de-
mand for labour having decreased, whilst
the supply of labourers continued the same:
yet, said the hon. gentleman who was
opposed to him in principle, the seven
million sterling thus alleged to be lost to
the agriculturist in the price of his corn,
were not lost to him in consequence of
the great depreciation in the price of
labourer's wages. He believed all this
part of the argument proceeded on a false
assumption. He thought there was no
surplus of labour, at least no permanent
surplus. That there was a surplus occa-
sionally, no one would deny: more espe-
cially must that event take place in a
country full of manufactures like this.
What was now heard of the surplus labour
amongst the silk and other weavers, which
gave so much concern within and without
those walls some time back? There
seemed to some on the opposite bench, so
little chance of their being employed, that
a project was hinted at, for sending them
as colonists to Canada. But they did not
go out; the evil remedied itself. The
same might be said of the carpet-weavers,
who were so very generally out of employ-
ment a short time since. They had been
a few days ago-such was the demand for
labour in this branch of our manufacture
-nearly in a state of open rebellion for
high wages. This must always be the
case in a great manufacturing country.
Where, then, was the proof that there was
a superabundance of labour? Now, he
would take upon him to assure the
committee, if they only gave to the agri-
culturist 62s,, 60s., or even 58s., which it


APRIL 25, 1828. 146
was admitted was 2s. less than they were
in fairness entitled to, the House would be
troubled no more with any attempt to prove
that there was a surplus labour in this
country which could not be employed.- -
In stating his impression on this subject,
he spoke as a citizen of this great State,
although himself an agriculturist. The in-
dependence of England on other countries,
in respect to a supply of the necessaries
of life, was, next to its general prosperity,
the wish uppermost in his heart. A
strange argument had lately been adduced
against affording the agriculturist the pro-
tection he solicited. It was said that,
during years when the agricultural interest
had been protected, we had low prices:
and it was thence inferred, that as high
prices were better for the agriculturist than
low prices, it would be more desirable,
even to themselves, that the agriculturist
should have no protection afforded him
against the foreign grower. But that was
an argument both weak and dangerous:
for there was little doubt, if no such pro-
tection was afforded, that famine would,
in some instances, be the result. The
farmer, when his stack-yard was full, would
be glad to part with wheat whenever it
bore a remunerating price; whilst the
great capitalist could afford to hoard up
his imported wheat in his granaries. He
felt the necessity for protection from the
comparatively low-priced wheat, so as to
encourage our own agriculture. After it
rose much above 62s. it was of no service
or value to our own growers. A state of
dependency, as to the main article of
food, on other countries, or even on our
own government, was very unwise. Mark
its effects in China, where, in despite of
the providence of their paternal govern-
ment, as it was called, starvation and
famine were often the result. The best
public granary was the farmer's stack-
yard, who was constantly compelled by
his own pressing wants to part with his
grain, which he could not, by the by, con-
ceal; whilst the mercantile speculator
hoarded it up in secresy in his granary
waiting for high prices. If there were any
thing more certain to produce high prices
than another, it would be found in a pro-
hibition or a discouragement to home
cultivation. He trusted that the right
hon. gentleman, to whom this important
arrangement had been confided, would
feel that as all his objects could be
accomplished by adopting the scale which






147 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
he had now submitted to the House, com-
prising, amongst other advantages, a lower
average of duty generally, a higher duty
on low-priced foreign grain, and a com-
paratively trifling duty on the higher,
would not hesitate to adopt those resolu-
tions, which would not only accomplish all
that was desirable for the welfare and sup-
ply of the community, but prove most
satisfactory to that class of his fellow-
subjects whose interests he had the honour
that evening to advocate. The hon.
member then submitted his string of
resolutions, the first of which was read
from the Chair as follows:-" That when
the price of wheat in our market shall be
under 66s. the quarter, imperial measure,
the duty payable on the importation of
foreign wheat into any of the ports of this
country shall be 38s. 8d. per quarter."
Mr. W. Whitmore said, he trusted the
House would afford a patient attention to
the subject, and that every member would
conceive it to be his duty to attend to the
statements of those who, from peculiar
circumstances, felt deeply interested in
the question. He confessed he was dis-
satisfied with the scale proposed by the
hon. member for Wiltshire, as well as with
that proposed by government. He firmly
believed that a high scale of restrictive
duties would not save the interests of the
agriculturists. It was not difficult to
foresee what would be the effect of the in-
troduction of a scale of duties arising so
rapidly as those now before the committee.
No duty, perhaps, ever could be proposed
that would be effectual in keeping out
foreign corn. He therefore did not won-
der at the statement of the hon. mem-
ber for Newcastle, who had said that it
could be imported at 24s. All the argu-
ments which supported this or that rate of
duty were founded on the restrictive sys-
tem; and that restrictive system itself was
founded on principles and opinions so er-
roneous, as to constitute the great evil
under which the country was suffering.
If this country were to exclude itself from
the corn market of the world, it would
artificially create a higher scale of prices,
than if the trade was left to its natural
operation. He could quote, in confirma-
tion of this opinion, the report of Mr.
Jacob, which was one of the most valuable
documents, both with regard to reasoning
and information, that ever was laid be-
fore the House. In that report Mr. Jacob
maintained the doctrine he had just.


Corn Laws. 148
stated, and after making an estimate of
the expense of carrying grain by land,
had inferred, that when it was necessary
to transport grain two hundred miles by
land, the expense of carriage would ab-
sorb the whole of the original price, even
taking that price at a high average.
Another part of the subject which ap-
peared to him of immense consequence
was the effect of these measures upon
the supply of corn. He begged leave to
remind the House, that in 1823, a period
of great agricultural distress, he had ven-
tured to say, that they might look for-
ward, within a short time, to the return
of high prices. Notwithstanding the ef-
fects that had been produced since, he
felt himself justified in saying, that the
data on which he then proceeded were
correct; for if he was in error, it was only
because he had not contemplated the ex-
traordinary circumstances which had since
taken place, and especially the great im-
portations from abroad. The fact, how-
ever, was certain, that since 1823, there
had been a diminution of production in
corn to the extent of four millions of quar-
ters, or about six hundred thousand quar-
ters annually. In truth, the country
wanted every quarter that she could draw
from abroad to meet her own consump-
tion. So that the great alarm which was
felt by some, lest the supply should be
limited, or endangered, by throwing open
her ports to the reception of corn, belonged
to the opposite system, and not to that.
Mr. Jacob had entered upon that subject
also, and though Mr. Jacob's figures were
different from his, the calculations of both
led to the same result. Indeed, if he had
taken Mr. Jacob's figures, he should have
made out a still stronger case than he had
established by his own data. Mr. Jacob
had estimated the falling-off, not at four
millions, but at six millions, nine hundred
thousand quarters. If gentlemen would
only reflect on the bearing which that part
of the subject had upon the production of
food, it could not fail to impress them
with a due sense of its importance. The
restrictive system was the evil against
which they were bound to guard: while
that lasted, they must suffer the incon-
venience of an artificial system; and no
man could calculate, to what a frightful
extent it might eventually proceed. In-
stead of exercising their ingenuity to get
a shilling more, or a shilling less, they
would best consult their own inteLest, and






149 Corn Laws.
that of the country, by meeting the ques-
tion on the broad principle of restriction
or no restriction. He would say, not only
that the restrictive system was bad, but
that its effects would be felt more and
more, in proportion as our population ad-
vanced. In this part of the argument
Mr. Jacob agreed with him again. Ac-
cording to his statement, the population
of Europe had increased, since the year
1815, twenty-eight or twenty-nine millions,
and that of England and Ireland within
the same period three millions, five hun-
dred thousand. If the population went
on thus, and the system still continued to
be persisted in, the subject must sooner or
later force itself on the attention of the
legislature, in a manner that could not be
disregarded. The great principle for
which he contended was free trade: if
they preferred an artificial position to the
high natural one which their country
seemed destined to occupy, they must ex-
pect to reap a fatal harvest. In 1816,
which was a year of great deficiency, the
price was high of course; but looking to
the average prices since 1815, they would
find that no conclusion would be drawn
favourable to their view of the subject.
The average prices from 1815 would lead
to the conclusion, that though there was
a rise of price for a time, it was followed
by a strong re-action and a rapid fall.
Such was the evidence borne by experience
to the inefficacy of the law of 1815. In
fact, it was not a benefit, but an injury;
for though the price was a little raised in
1818, it was followed by the greatest im-
port that ever was known-an import
which emptied all the granaries of Europe.
Since that period it was true that a mode-
rate price had prevailed. But why?-be-
cause a want of confidence in the law pre-
vented the embarkation of property to the
extent that might otherwise be expected
in the purchase of foreign corn. If the
law of 1815 had been in operation during
the years 1824 and 1825, the spirit of
speculation which was then running riot in
all the other branches of trade, would
have swept every granary in the world; a
re-action would soon have followed, and
the same ruin would have been experienced
in the corn trade which had visited the
rest. Restrictive laws, so far from ope-
rating as a protection, added wings to the
fluctuation which they were intended to
remedy. If a regular trade in corn was
allowed, the agricultural interest would be


APRIL 25, 1828. 150
materially benefited. It was for their ad-
vantage to have a natural not an artificial
basis to their trade; and he spoke ad-
visedly when he said, that since the period
when those laws were first adopted, the
value of land had not increased. It was
his wish to have proposed some resolutions,
but being precluded by the forms of the
House from doing so at the present mo-
ment, he should content himself with say-
ing, that he considered the measures now
proposed so utterly at variance with sound
principles of legislation and the true in-
terests of the country, that he should
oppose them upon all occasions, as
founded upon the miserable, paltry, ab-
surd, and ridiculous, system of exclusion.
The amendment of Mr. Benett, by
which the duty was to decrease by 2s. in-
stead of Is. when the price was at 62s., till
it reached 67s., was then put, and the
gallery was cleared for a division, but
none took place. On the admission of
strangers,
Mr. Secretary Peel was contending,
that the protection which the bill would
afford to the agriculturist was abundantly
sufficient. After stating various returns
of the prices of corn at Guernsey and
Jersey, and of the price at which it could
be imported from those islands into this
country, he proceeded to observe that the
facts that, when the duty was 26s. 8d.,
only two thousand quarters of foreign
corn had found its way into the home
market; and that at Rotterdam, where
there was a free trade in corn, 31s. and
32s. were the average prices, established
the fact, that there could be no importa-
tion of foreign corn sufficient to check the
agriculture of this country; and, therefore,
that it was not necessary to increase the
duty.
Mr. Portman said, that in answer to
the Guernsey case, which had been ad-
verted to by the right hon. gentleman, he
would refer to the case of Rostock. Sir
Claude Scott, when he was examined be-
fore the Lords' committee last year, had
said that corn could then be imported
from Rostock to London at 22s. a quarter.
When asked, why it could be imported at
so low a rate, his answer was, that wheat
had accumulated there for want of a
market. Such, he would contend, would
be the case on the occurrence of every
good harvest; and at those periods corn
would be at the price just mentioned.
The next question put to sir C. Scott






151 HOUSE OF COMMONS,
was, what was the quality of the corn to
which he had alluded? The answer was,
that it was such as would be bought by
any miller in this country-sweet, sound,
and good. The Rostock case, therefore,
might be fairly set against the Guernsey
case. When asked the prices at which
corn might be imported into this country
from Dantzic, sir C. Scott answered, from
27s. to 30s. Now it was clear that, if
foreign corn could come into the English
market at 56s., the agriculture of this
country had no protection. In the report
of the Lords' committee, the price of
wheat, in the preceding year, at Dantzic
and Hamburgh was detailed. It appeared
that at Dantzic, in the first quarter, it was
29s., in the second 27s., in the third 20s.,
in the fourth, 28s. It also appeared that
at Hamburgh, in the first quarter, it was
29s. 6d., in the second, 21s. 4d., in the
third, 23s., and in the fourth, 22s. 9d.
The hon. member then made some quota-
tions from Mr. Jacob's second report, and
contended, that under the present scheme,
the importation of foreign corn would, in
certain circumstances of the country, in-
terfere greatly with the farmer, and place
him in a worse situation than through a
bad harvest. He believed that govern-
ment was disposed to give protection to
the British farmer, but that protection was
not afforded by the present resolutions.
Mr. Peel said, the hon. member had
relied on a statement of sir C. Scott re-
specting a single cargo in 1826, from
Swedish Pomerania, at 23s. the quarter ;
but sir C. Scott, on being asked in the
committee if that was not a low price, had
answered, that it was the lowest price he
ever remembered.
Mr. Leslie Foster began by remarking
upon the absurdity of the apprehensions
which some agriculturists entertained with
respect to the importation of foreign
wheat. The lowest average price, he had
heard, was about 32s. and the duty would
be 34s.; which made the price of the
wheat 66s. if sold in this country. He
had always been as much afraid of too
much protection as of too little; for he
considered the one likely to have an effect
as injurious to the interests of the agri-
culturists as the other. If they could in-
duce the government of the country to
give them too much protection, the con-
sequence would be, that they must lose it
in a moment of famine and distress, when
all laws proved unavailing; and when


Corn Laws. 152
they had thus lost it, the prejudices of
the people against such a system would
be so strong, that they would never re-
cover it. He was disposed to support the
present measure, because he saw in it
concessions of substantial importance to
the interests of the agriculturists. Some
persons were disposed to moderate these
concessions; but they ought to recollect,
that the great pinch with the agriculturists
was when the price reached between 58s.
and 65s. A great deal had been said
about the prices of corn in foreign ports,
and the low rate at which it was pur-
chased in Dantzic and Lubeck, and in
Bremen and Rostock; but what he wished
hon. gentlemen to direct their attention
to was the fair average price for a series
of years. In the port of Rotterdam, where
importation was allowed free of all duty,
the fair average price for the last seven
years had been 32s. a quarter; and this
he considered the fair average price of the
continent of Europe during that period.
The price to which he alluded was the
price of Rotterdam, without any demand
from England during that period, and
therefore must be taken as a minimum
price; but when the ports of this country
were opened to importation, he had no
doubt the price would immediately rise
much higher. If, however, the opening of
the ports of this country should have the
effect of raising the prices of the continent
for a short period, its ultimate effect
would be to bring the poorer lands of those
countries into cultivation, and thereby
to bring the price below the comparative
standard of England. It was therefore, he
contended, that this was strictly a question
of degree; and although he had not be-
fore voted with ministers on any corn bill,
he was now disposed to give them his
support, because their proposition enabled
the country to resort with safety to the
continent, through their speculators at
home, when the state of the harvest ren-
dered it expedient.
Mr. Huskisson wished to make one ob-
servation respecting the price of wheat on
the continent. According to the evidence
of Mr. Jacob, the actual price of wheat at
Mecklenburgh, for a course of six years,
was 25s. 10d. The best was shipped for
this country; but even the best was much
inferior to English wheat. Supposing the
price of English wheat 60s. the quarter,
that shipped at Mecklenburgh would be
inferior by 8s., and in that case there






153 Corn Laws.
could be no profit to the grower. Was it
possible to say that, when wheat at
Rostock was 22s., and the price in this
country was 58s., there could be a suffi-
cient remuneration to the foreign grower,
after the expenses of freight and duty ?
From all that he could learn, he was con-
vinced that 60s. was a fair remuneration
to the agriculturist.
Mr. Ward doubted very much whether
35s. was not much nearer the medium
price of foreign wheat than 30s. In de-
termining a question of this kind, they
ought to look to the quantity which might
be imported. If they bought one million
of quarters, the'price might be about 35s.;
but if the demand came to five millions,
then the price of foreign corn would be
much higher. He thought the present
scale much too high; but as there was
little probability of obtaining a better at the
present moment, he would support the re-
solutions.
Sir T. Gooch said, he had listened to all
the arguments brought forward for and
against the measure, and could honestly
state, that until now he had not come, in
his own mind, to any satisfactory conclu-
sion. His mind was now, however, made
up, that the system produced to the House
by his majesty's government was prefer-
able to any that had yet been propounded.
He had taken some pains to collect the
average prices of wheat at all the northern
ports for some time past, and he found
that, taking the cost, or export price, at
25s. per quarter, the duty on importation
at 29s., and freightage at about 8s., the
price of such wheat, when brought into
this market, would be about 62s. Now,
would any man in his senses speculate on
such a price ? As all classes of the com-
munity were concerned in this important
question, a little should be given, and a
little taken on both sides. The agricul-
turists, therefore, and the manufacturers,
had reason to be both satisfied with a scale,
which considered both interests, without
sacrificing either of them to the other. He,
for one, might think that the agriculturists
had a right to ask more protection ; but he
would rather that they should have less,
and that a spirit of conciliation should
prevail between them and the rest of the
community. This was most important;
but one thing, if possible, more important,
was (and this he hoped the present propo-
sition would effect), that this great qies-
tion should be finally settled,


APRIL 25, 1828. 154
Mr. Baring said, he decidedly preferred
the system now proposed to that brought
forward by the late government. He
entirely agreed with the right hon. mem-
ber for Louth, that nothing could be more
idle than the perpetual references made
in that House to the average prices of
wheat at various foreign ports. It was
ridiculous to make references of this kind
when they had just opposite to them, as it
were, and had had, for the last century, a
port, Rotterdam, which had always been,
as to corn, a free one. At that port the
price usually varied from 30s. to 34s., the
same would be the price in the port of
London, if the Thames were equally free:
and it should be recollected, that this com-
parison was not without its application;
for the provinces of Holland composed a
country of no trifling consumption of corn.
They were still populous, and had once
been extremely opulent and powerful, as a
manufacturing nation; nor let hon. gentle-
men ever forget that from that opulence
and power they had declined, absolutely,
from levying enormous duties upon the
corn consumed by their subjects. The
same fate, resulting from the same cause,
as irresistibly awaited this country, as one
day succeeded another.-As to the talk
about high prices, the danger of our
present system arose, not from positive,
but from relative, prices. He owned he
was amazed at the course which so many
gentlemen had pursued upon this question.
How was it possible that any men, having
the powers of reasoning or reflection, could
come down to that House day after day,
and talk about protection to corn-pro-
tection to wool-protection to oak bark-
the difference, meanwhile, in the price of
bread between Great Britain and the
natives of the continent being as the differ-
ence, in favour of the latter, between 25s.
and 64s. How was it possible that they
should expect we could go on exporting
manufactures, as we now did, to the
amount of between fifty and sixty millions
a year, there being this frightful dispro-
portion between the relative prices of corn
among ourselves and our continental
neighbours? Heartily did he wish that
some man among them, with honesty in
his heart, would come down and tell them
plainly it was their duty to consider, not
how they might get in their own proper
rents for that particular year or so, but
how the country was to subsist with its
establishments for the next twenty or fifty






155 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 156


years. But, on the contrary, he declared
with pain, that whenever the corn question
came on for discussion, it was argued by
them on the most selfish, and narrow-
minded principles, that any legislature
ever condescended to listen to. He was
himself a landed proprietor; but he dis-
dained to seek protection for his interests
in that capacity, by means which, being
intended for the benefit of one class of the
community, must one day crush them all.
le hoped that the government would
stand by their own system, without listen-
ing to the projects of those, with whom he,
for one, acknowledged that he could not
trust himself.
Sir M. W. Ridley disapproved of the
system of taking averages, and expressed
his perfect approbation of the measure
proposed by the right hon. gentleman (Mr.
C. Grant.)
The committee divided: for the original
motion 230; for the amendment 32;
majority 198.
Mr. Portman proposed as an amend-
ment to the resolution establishing the
descending scale at steps of Is. each, that
instead of Is. advance in duty upon every
integral shilling of fall in pricebetween 62s.,
it should be 2s. for every integral shilling
decrease. This was the scale of last year,
and he had not heard any satisfactory
reason for the departure from that arrange-
ment.
Mr. Western wished to ask the right
hon. gentleman opposite, what discovery
he had made which had induced him to
abandon the scale on the descending
price, which he bad proposed to the House
last year, and to adopt one which gave
inferior protection to agriculture? It was
admitted, that the country did not stand
in need of a foreign supply, and that the
object of this bill was to prevent any such
supply, up to a certain point. Why, then,
did they refuse to satisfy those who appre-
hended that these duties were insufficient ?
The most intelligent among the growers
of corn thought that the reduced scale of
duties on the descending price was insuffi-
cient; and it was deviating from the mea-
sure of last year in this respect, that made
the bill look like a compromise, which
gave a higher price but removed protection.
He admitted the advantages of this bill:
it was a point gained : it had satisfied the
country, that there were those in the cabi-
net who would give protection to agricul-
ture, an had relieved the people from


those apprehensions which they had lately
felt.
Mr. Secretary Huskisson did not know
if the hon. gentleman had addressed his
question to him. If he had, he could
assure the hon. member that, without hav-
ing recourse to compromise of principle,
this deviation had taken place. It appeared
to him, however, that one part of the hon.
member's speech was an answer to the
other. On the one hand there were great
apprehensions, and on the other, confi-
dence in the government: he thought,
therefore, that the two feelings might be
safely left to balance each other. He did,
however, think that there could not be
much alarm in the country on this point;
for if there had been, they would have
seen a different division from that which
they had just witnessed. The hon. member
had asked, why they had given protection
on the ascending scale, and taken it from
the other ? It was thought that 60s. was
the price at which protection should be
given to British agriculture-protection
which could not amount to strict prohibi-
tion, but which would prevent any material
importation of foreign corn. It was
thought, from the experience they had had
since the last year, that a duty of 20s, was
not sufficient, and therefore the duty had
been raised to 24s. On making this
change, it was thought advisable also to
make the alteration in the descending
scale of which thehon. membercomplained.
The committee divided: for the original
motion 140; for the amendment 50;
majority 90. After which, the chairman
reported progress.

HOUSE OF LORDS.
Monday, April 28.
TEST AND CORPORATION ACTS RE-
PEAL BILL.] The bill was read a third
time. After which, the clerk proceeded
to read the bill, until he came as far as the
Declaration in the second clause, upon
which
Lord Holland rose to propose an amend-
ment. The Declaration, as it stood at
present, commenced in these words ;-" I
A. B., do solemndlyeclare, in the presence
of God, &c. on the true faith of a Chris-
tian." Now, to the previous form of words
he did not object; but with respect to the
present, he felt it due to that most respect-
able body of Christians, the Society of
Friends, to state, that these words were






APRIL 25, 1828. 138


instance had come within the noble earl's
knowledge, then was he conjuring up
imaginary grievances to frighten himself
and his friends, which the sooner they got
rid of the better for all parties.
The clause was negatived.
The Bishop of Llandaff said, it was his
intention, on the third reading of the bill,
to propose another clause. He had upon
a former occasion, expressed his dissatis-
faction at the present Declaration. As it
stood, he considered it utterly unworthy
of their lordships. It was now converted
into an oath [cries of "no, no,"]: he
maintained that it was; for a Declaration
solemnly made in the face of God was an
oath, even though the words "So help
me God were not attached to it. It was
converted, he said, into an oath; and his
objection to it was the awkwardness of the
situation in which it placed the Dissenters.
It was to be administered to all persons
upon their admission into civil offices.
Now, he calculated that nine-tenths of the
persons who would be called upon to take
it would be of that description on which
it was never intended to be imposed. He
should therefore contend, on the principle
that the legislature ought not needlessly
to multiply oaths, that it was unworthy
of the House to frame the Declaration in
the invidious form in which it now stood.
He had wished their lordships to make the
persons who entered upon office declare,
that, so far as concerned the duties of
their office, they would respect and main-
tain the rights and privileges of the Es-
tablished Church." That Declaration was
objected to, [on account of the inconve-
nience it was likely to cause to some con-
sciences. He had yielded to the objection,
and did not press his amendment. He
must, however, say, that all his subsequent
impressions confirmed the correctness of
his original opinion. The object which
he had in view would be obtained by the
insertion of a short clause, of which the
tenour would be, that those persons who
were members of the Church of England
should not be called upon to take this
Declaration upon their admission into
office.
The report was brought up, and the bill,
as amended, was ordered to be printed.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Friday, April 25.
RoM a CATHIOLIC ASSOCIATION--


PETITION OF THE CORPORATION OF
DUBLIN AGAINST.] Mr. Moore said, he
rose to present a Petition from the Cor-
poration of Dublin, against the Roman
Catholic Association. The petitioners
commenced by stating, that being the
body from whom the magistrates of Dublin
were selected, they felt it to be their duty,
to call the attention of the House to a
Society which they thought calculated to
injure the peace of Dublin, and to pray
that the House would adopt prompt mea-
sures to suppress it. He need not remind
the House, that the proceedings of the old
Catholic Association, previous to 1825,
were such as to call the attention of go-
vernment to them. The danger that was
apprehended had been submitted to the
legislature, and a great majority in both
Houses had come to the conclusion, that
the Association was dangerous. This
opinion had been further evinced in the
bill passed in 1825, called the Unlawful
Society bill. To this law the old Catholic
Association had affected to submit; but
scarcely was [that submission professed,
before a new Association sprung up,
which, while it pretended to coincide with
the bill, was, in fact, totally hostile to its
essence. That bill directed its enactment
against certain societies, which it pro-
nounced illegal, but contained exceptions
in favour of societies for certain objects.
When, therefore, the Catholic Association
again sprung up, it assumed a form which
came within what was legal under the act,
though, in truth, it preserved the same
character, and was supported by the same
persons as before. When it assumed the
same character in its operations of directing
themotions of the Catholics, and controlling
the proceedings of the Protestants-when
it interfered, by the expression of its
opinions, in all great measures of policy
which came under the attention of the
legislature, he thought that every objec-
tion which was urged successfully against
the Association in 1825, would lie with
the same, or greater, force, against the
Association now existing in Dublin. Many
plans, then in a state of incipiency, had
now reached their maturity-many ob-
jects, then limited in their nature, had now
been reared up to an almost indefinite ex-
tent. He called the attention of the
House to the connexion which notoriously
subsisted between this Association, as a
political body, and the Catholic priesthood
-to the collectors of the Catholic rent,


Roman Catholic Association.,






157 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


likely to affect their consciences. Their
lordships were aware, that in the Tolera-
tion act, passed in the reign of William 3rd,
an oath was introduced, which all persons
taking the benefit of that act were required
to take. But many of the body to which
he had referred were deprived of the benefit
of that act, because their religious scruples
would not allow them to take an oath;
in consequence of which, in the true spirit
of toleration in which the measure was
proposed, a clause was subsequently intro-
duced, substituting a declaration to be
taken by that class of Christians in lieu of
the oath. However, in time, the same
conscientious persons who had scrupled
taking the oath considered that the decla-
ration 1 solemnly declare before God"
approached so nearly to an oath, that they
could not take it, without doing violence
to their religious feelings; whereupon the
legislature carried their deference for those
feelings so far, as to introduce a clause,
allowing them to take the declaration in
these words, "I solemnly and sincerely
declare." This proved the respect in
which the legislature had held the religi-
ous sentiments of that most excellent class
of his majesty's subjects. It also showed,
that they considered that the oath or decla-
ration ought to be adapted ad animum
deponentis. However, he trusted that
when the members of that class found that
a proposition to substitute the word
" swear" for "declare" was rejected, they
would not consider the present Declaration
to border so closely on an oath, as to ex-
cite any scruples in their minds against
taking it. Although, therefore, in order
to avoid throwing the slightest difficulty in
the way of this great and glorious work,
he would not move the omission of these
words, which some noble lords seemed to
consider essential, yet he thought it due
to those worthy and excellent men to
whom he had referred, to state, that he
should be acting disingenuously, if he did
not call the attention of the House to
those words. His objection to the words
on the true faith of a Christian" was,
that they implied, though they did not
absolutely express, that a particular reli-
gious faith was necessary to the due dis-
charge of a civil duty,-a principle which
he never could acknowledge. He had also
considered how these words would affect
the members of the Jewish persuasion. He
recollected that when the introduction of
another measure into another House was


found to have a similar effect, parliament
immediately relieved them from the conse-
quences of it. The history of the condition of
this people in this country was well worthy
their lordships' consideration ; but if he
were to attempt to describe their condition,
from the time of Charles 2nd until the
reign of queen Anne, he should be taunted
by his noble and learned friend at the
table (lord Eldon), and told that he was
intrenching on the province of a lawyer.
[a laugh]. Every man acquainted with
that history, and having the feelings of an
Englishman, must wish that they were
subjects of Great Britain. However, since
the reign of Charles 2nd., there was no-
thing to keep a Jew out of parliament,
except the Oath of Abjuration, which was
introduced into the Toleration act. That
act was passed against the adherents of
the House of Stuart, to keep the exiled
family from the throne, and preserve the
influence of William 3rd. Now, although
those who were inclined to taunt the me-
mory of that great man might say, that he,
as well as the House of Hanover, was more
hostile to the Jews than the House of
Stuart had been, it so happened that it
never was the intention of parliament, on
that occasion, that the act should have
that effect. This was not a little hard,
however, upon those who were so affected
by a bill of which they were not the ob-
jects; but it would be harder still upon
them on the present occasion. In the
reign of George 1st, a somewhat harsh law
was passed, for the purpose of inquiring
into the state of the property and the resid-
ence of those persons who were supposed
to be friends of the exiled prince. The
way in which it was done was this-every
man was obliged to take the Oath of Abju-
ration, and to register his estates, place of
residence, &c. The Jews found they
could not take all the oaths required in
this act, because of the words on the true
faith of a Christian." They therefore
applied to parliament on the subject, and
the 10th of George 1st was passed, allow-
ing them to leave out the words on the
true faith of a Christian." That act, how-
ever, was but a temporary one, and had
expired. In ten or twelve years after,
when government were anxious to procure
settlers for the North American colonies,
and particularly Jews, who were supposed
likely to be possessed of capital, a law
passed in the 13th of George 2nd to
enable foreign persons, not Roman Catho-


ApRit 235, 1828. 158






159 HOUSE OF COMMONS, 'Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 160


lics, to be naturalized there; and in the
oath which that act prescribed the words
" on the true faith of a Christian" were left
out. Now this proved, first, that measures
of this kind frequently produced conse-
quences to individuals who were not in-
tended to be affected by them, and who
were not objects of alarm; and secondly,
that parliament, when it found that such
was the case, always dispensed with the
words which produced this injurious effect.
It was unnecessary for him to inform their
lordships, that if he could act upon his
sentiments, he would leave out these words;
but he would, at all events, move the in-
troduction of a clause giving Jews per-
mission to make the Declaration without
using these words. Although he would
prefer leaving the words out altogether,
yet, if they were an addition which other
noble lords who supported the bill deemed
important, he would not press his objec-
tion to them; because he believed them to
have been proposed from a feeling not
hostile to the spirit of the bill. However,
he would put it to their lordships, whether
in a bill intending to give relief to one
class of persons, it was fair to impose
another shackle in addition to those which
they already bore, on a body of men who
were not the objects of the bill. He was
most anxious that this great work should
not be disfigured with that which would
work such a hardship upon this body of
men; and he would, therefore, propose
that those words be omitted; and if not,
then he would leave it to some other noble
lord to move a clause in a subsequent part
of the bill, giving Jews permission to omit
the words" onthetruefaithof a Christian."
The Bishop of Llandaff said, he had not
been aware of any such consequences
arising from the introduction of the words
in question; but although they were now
pointed out by the noble lord, he still
approved of the words, because it was an
acknowledgment, that Christianity consti-
tuted part of the law of the land.
Lord Bexley said, that as it was so
much the object of parliament to give
relief to all classes of his majesty's subjects,
he was disposed to support in principle
the motion of the noble lord, by introducing
a proviso permitting the Jews to omit these
words. To this he saw no objection. If
they had heretofore admitted any Jews to
occupy offices, it would be a monstrous
thing now to exclude them, by means of a
ill which had for its object tO give tWlera-


tion to another body of men. He should,
therefore, at the proper time, move a pro-
viso to the effect suggested by the noble
lord.
The Earl of Eldon said, that no man
would deny that the Established Church
and the civil state formed together the
constitution of this country. That was a
proposition which not only Christians but
Jews admitted, and he requested their
lordships to bear it in mind. His noble
friend (lord Holland) commenced his
speech by hinting some proposition with
regard to the Quakers: and here he must
do his noble friend the justice to say, that
he had told him (lord Eldon) last session,
that he hoped the time would come when he
should never more hear of the word tolera-
tion. Now, in the Toleration act itself,
the Quakers were required to express a
belief in the doctrine of the Trinity. But
it seemed that Jews had now been rendered
capable of participating in the civil govern-
ment of this country. Some of their lord-
ships were old enough to remember the
result of an attempt of that kind formerly.
He requested their lordships would be so
kind as to feel a little for those who felt
that the doctrines of the Established Church
were the doctrines of true Christianity.
Let it be remembered, that the Jews were
here and there and every where, and yet
they were no where ; and that they were a
people whom their lordships did not ac-
knowledge. But there was no denying
that a Jew was as capable as any other
man of filling a civil office. That, how-
ever, was not the principle on which their
lordships acted. If they were to legislate
on this principle, that a state had no right
to inquire into the religious feelings of a
man before he was admitted a member of
a governing community, there would be an
end to the foundation on which the con-
stitution of this country rested. He
considered this Declaration quite insuffi-
cient; because any man who took office
might say, he was not doing any thing by
virtue of his office" to overturn the Esta-
blished Church; what he did would be by
virtue of his conscience, and its dictates
would lead him to do every thing in his
power to overturn the ecclesiastical esta-
blishment to which he was opposed.-
After his noble friend's motion was dis-
posed of, he would move the introduction
of the words and that I am a Protestant,"
and take the opinion of the House upon it,
Thei monarch was called t~ the throne .9






161 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


support the Protestant religion, and every
act of parliament on the subject took care
that the prince governing this country
should be a Protestant. Their lordships
had had a debate the other night as to the
operation of the Test act. Now, he knew
that he had the reputation of being very
much addicted to doubting; no man, how-
ever, was more anxious than he was, that
the opinions of his noble and learned friend
on the woolsack should carry with them
the greatest possible weight. Under these
circumstances, he should by and by pro-
pose, for the purpose of removing all
doubts on the subject, a clause, requiring
that all persons on entering upon office
should take the declaration against tran-
substantiation. It was already incumbent
on persons taking office to do so: he (lord
Eldon) thought otherwise; but he did not
wish to set his opinion up against that of
his noble and learned friend. However,
to remove all doubt on the subject, he
should propose a clause to that effect. He
should now, however, as soon as the present
motion was disposed of, move the intro-
duction of the words and that I am a
Protestant" into the Declaration. He was
desirous that nothing contained in this bill
should affect the claims of the Roman
Catholics; but he was quite certain, that
unless some such clause as that was intro-
duced into the bill, that question would be
most essentially affected by it.
The Earl of Winchilsea conceived that
these words were perfectly nugatory, so
far as the security of the Established Church
was concerned. With respect to what the
noble baron had said respecting the Jews
being affected by these words, it had little
weight with him. What were the words ?
On the true faith of a Christian." Why
might not a Jew make a declaration in
these terms ? It was not necessary that
he should be a Christian to make this de-
claration. If a Jew made such a declara-
tion, it no more followed that he was a
Christian, than it would follow that he
(the earl) would be a Jew if he were to
declare any thing, on the true faith of a
Jew." Looking at this question as he did
at first, he was prepared to agree to the
removal of the Test and Corporation acts.
It was his full intention to have given his
support to any measure founded on the
broad basis of liberality to the Dissenters;
but he certainly was not prepared to agree
to a concession which admitted that it
should be a matter of perfect indifference
VOL. XIX,


what religion a man professed, or, indeed,
whether he professed any religion at all.
He deeply regretted the hasty and incon-
siderate manner in which a bill of such
vital importance had been carried through
both Houses. There were those among
the supporters of it, those, who, at a future
day, would deeply lament that they had
not resisted the attempt at a total repeal
of the Test and Corporation acts, which
must leave the country without that rock,
on which their prosperity had been found-
ed-the rock of the Christian church. He
could assure the right rev. bench, that
their conduct had not given satisfaction
to the majority of the members of the Es-
tablished Church nor of the Dissenters,
He should be, to the last hour of his life,
proud of the opposition which he had given
to this measure, and would not barter one
tittle of it for all the wealth, honours, and
titles which the world could bestow.
The Bishop of Durham said:--My
lords, although I have already more than
once troubled your lordships with my
sentiments on the measure now before us,
yet during the discussions that have taken
place since the second reading of the bill,
so many animadversions have been made,
not only upon the bill itself, but upon the
supporters of it, and especially upon the
episcopal bench, that I cannot forbear en-
treating your lordships' patience for a few
minutes, whilst I offer some further expla-
nations as to the conduct I have myself
hitherto pursued, and still intend to pursue
concerning it.
My lords, never since I have had the
honour of a seat in this House, have I
witnessed a discussion, to me so painfully
distressing, as this has been. It is the
first time, and I trust it will never happen
again, that I have found myself opposed
on a great constitutional question, affect-
ing the interests of church and state, to
persons whom I have been always accus-
tomed to regard with respect, esteem, and
affection, as among the ablest and purest,
and firmest defenders of those interests.
This has inflicted a wound more painful
than I can express; and it is certainly not
much mitigated by the sort of commenda-
tion which has been bestowed upon us,
on the other hand, by some of the most
strenuous promoters of the bill.
When this measure was first brought
forward, I was not insensible to its diffi-
culties and its dangers; and most sincerely
did I wish it might have slept in peace,
Q


APRIL 28, 1828. 162






183 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 164


And I believe that it might have slept in
peace, had the wishes only of the most re-
spectable Dissenters been regarded; many
of whom, there is reason to think, are very
indifferent as to the fate of this bill. I
cannot, therefore, but regret that it has
ever made its appearance. But, my lords,
when it had actually been brought forward,
and had reached the House, a new crisis
presented itself to us. Not only the sense
of the other House of Parliament in its
favour (for I do not mean to say, that the
decision of that House should in any way
restrict your lordships'judgments upon it),
but also the strong feeling excited for it in
the public mind, placed myself and my
right reverend brethren in a new and
critical situation. And here, my lords, I
must take leave to say, that with respect
to the episcopal bench, a somewhat hard
measure has been dealt out to it, on this
occasion. We were more especially bound
to contemplate the subject in its religious
aspect. In this point of view it was evi-
dent, that not only among the Dissenters,
but among the laity and clergy of our own
church, a very strong and general feeling
prevailed against the Sacramental Test.
To this feeling our attention could not but
be particularly directed; and this I can
truly say, for myself at least (for I do not
presume to speak for others, who are so
much better able to plead their own cause),
is the sole ground on which I have con-
sented to this measure. But this main
point, which I felt myself especially called
upon to consider as a religious difficulty
of the most serious kind, has not, I must
say, been fairly met and encountered by
our opponents. Even the noble and
learned earl, who has so ably conducted
the opposition to this bill, and for whom
I can never cease to entertain sentiments
of the highest veneration and regard, has,
I think, scarcely noticed the religious ob-
jections to that particular Test. Had any
other Test, not liable to the same objec-
tions been in existence, I should probably
not have been inclined to part with it.
But the Sacramental Test (as seems to be
generally acknowledged on all sides) is
found to be no longer tenable, without
giving occasion of offence. Another cir-
cumstance attending this Test, seems also
not to have been duly adverted to, though,
as I conceive, it strikes at the main prin-
ciple on which it is assumed the Test laws
were founded,-that of excluding from
corporations, and from places of trust, and


power, all but members of the Established
Church. This principle (if it were indeed
the real one) has clearly been, in effect,
departed from by the annual Indemnity
bills. For what purpose, let me ask, have
those Indemnity bills been granted? If
they had only been occasionally passed,
to remedy some particular inconveniences
that had incidentally occurred, the case
would be very different. But when they
have been annually repeated for sixty or
eighty years, they can hardly be considered
as having, for their real or sole object,
(what they usually set forth), merely to
secure members of the Church of England
against the consequences of unintentional
omission or inadvertency. On the con-
trary, they are evidently intended for the
very purpose of admitting Dissenters into
office. And if this be the case, is not the
original purpose of enacting the Test so
far actually annulled ? When these acts
have, in point of fact, been in a state of
abeyance, and are rendered so totally in-
operative, can it, my lords, fairly be said,
that the repeal of this particular Test, with
the substitution of a Declaration in its
stead, makes any real change in the con-
stitution itself, or breaks up that funda-
mental principle of it, the alliance between
Church and State? Had this measure
come up to us, as an unqualified and un-
conditional repeal of that Test, I should
certainly have opposed it, and should wil-
lingly have borne my share of the obloquy
of doing so. But, my lords, though the
nature of the security has changed, the
main object of it, I conceive, remains the
same. The alliance between Church and
State did not originate with the Test laws.
That union existed long before. The
Sacramental Test, no doubt, was intended,
among other enactments, for its better
preservation. But if this has, by lapse of
time and untoward circumstances, become
inexpedient, or even impracticable, I do
no; see that the substitution of something
else in its stead implies any real change
of principle. In short, the question is,
not whether the fortress shall be surren-
dered, but whether the outworks shall re-
main as they were, or be reconstructed on
a somewhat different plan. On this ques-
tion there may be room for diversity of
opinion, without any intentional abandon-
ment of the main object.
My own simple view of the matter is
this, that the ancient safeguard-whether'
or not it was, from the first, the best that






165 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


might have been devised-has now be-
come altogether ineffective and almost
nothing worth; and therefore it is, that I
am inclined to accept another security less
exceptionable in its kind,and I trust not less
calculated to produce the intended effect.
Yet after all, my lords, I confess I have
not so much confidence in the result, as
some of its supporters seem to entertain;
nor am I entirely free from some misgivings
and apprehensions in this respect. Could
I feel assured that it will be regarded as a
final and conclusive measure by those
for whose benefit it is intended, my satis-
faction would be much greater. But I see
too much reason to apprehend that it may
be viewed by many of them as an in-
cipient measure only, opening a way for
some ulterior objects. The tone and sen-
timents of many of the petitions on your
lordships' table naturally tend to excite
such apprehensions; and, if I mistake not,
the noble baron who introduced this bill
to the House, observed, on presenting one
of those petitions a short time before the
bill came up, that he should not con-
sider the object completely attained, and
hoped the Dissenters themselves would not
rest satisfied -until they had an entire
equality of rights and privileges. These
are somewhat ominous circumstances.
My chief confidence, therefore, is placed
in the legislature, which, I trust, will never
encourage such ulterior views as may,
perhaps, be in contemplation, nor suffer
that, which is intended only as a fair con-
cession to reasonable and conscientious
scruples, to be made instrumental to other
views and purposes, not resting on the
same ground. More especially do I feel
confident, that those of his majesty's go-
vernment who now guide the helm of
State will be vigilant in preventing and
counteracting any such intentions, and not
give countenance to encroachments of
whatever kind which may put to hazard
those venerable institutions, on which the
peace and the welfare of the community so
essentially depend.
So much, my lords, for my general view
of the present measure. With regard to
the alterations the bill has undergonein this
House, I am unwilling longer to detain your
lordships; my opinion is, that such altera-
tions as have been made are substantial
improvements, and particularly that the
Declaration is much strengthened by the
solemn expressions with which it is now
introduced, I could have wished, how-


ever, that the addition proposed by
the noble and learned earl, by which the
individual should declare himself to be a
Protestant, had been agreed to. I do not
presume to enter into the legal differences
of opinion on this point, between the two
great legal authorities who discussed them;
but such is the veneration I feel for the
consummate legal knowledge, attainments,
integrity, and laborious investigation of
the noble and learned earl, and the almost
implicit deference I would pay to his
opinion, that I could not easily satisfy
myself by voting, on such a point, contrary
to his judgment. But, in the present in-
stance, my own view of the matter is
simply this-if the Oath of Supremacy be
sufficient to exclude the Catholic from
office, this addition to the form of Decla-
ration cannot alter his case; and if that
oath be not sufficient, then I deem it
necessary to ensure his exclusion. I regret,
therefore, that it has not been adopted.
To another addition, proposed by a
noble earl for whom I have the highest
respect, enjoining a Declaration of belief
in the canonical books of the Holy Scrip-
tures, I should have seen no objection, had
it not been thought according to the
terms in which it was framed-to pledge
those who dissent from us, to an accep-
tance of our interpretation of the Scrip-
tures; and had I not felt assured, that
the Declaratibn, as it now stands, com-
prises the same in substance as a direct ac-
knowledgment of belief in the Scriptures.
For the same reason I did not support the
proposal of another noble earl, to introduce
into the Declaration a more specific desig-
nation of our blessed Saviour, conceiving
the addition to be already provided for,
and feeling, also, objections to the too
frequent and familiar use of that sacred
name. My lords, having made these few
observations and explanations, chiefly from
respect to those noble lords who have
manifested so zealous an attachment to our
venerable establishment, and especially to
the noble and learned earl, from whom I
can never differ without pain and reluctance,
I will detain your lordships no longer
from proceeding on the question imme-
diately before us.
The Earl of Eldon assured the right rev.
prelate that the manner in which he had
spoken of him, coming as it did from so
valuable a quarter, gave him the greatest
comfort and consolation. He must, how-
ever, say, that not a syllable had fallen
G2


APRIL 28, 1828. 1666







167 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


from him in favour of retaining the Sacra-
mental Test. On the contrary it was his
wish that it should be taken away. The
Sacrament was never intended as a Test
for office, but as a Test that the individual
called upon to take office was a member of
the Established Church. The scruples
which were entertained were more than
sufficient to require that it should not be
retained; but the Church and State toge-
ther, which formed the constitution of the
country, required that, instead of the
Sacramental Test, something of substantial
protection should be substituted. What
was he to think when, under a Protestant
king, and a Protestant legislature, he
found the rev. bench opposing a proposi-
tion like that which he had made? And
yet the reverend bench appeared to be of
opinion, that the constitution of this
country should be handed over to persons,
who would not tell what sort of Christians
they were, but were merely to call them-
selves so. It was painful for him to say
so, but he must again declare, that this
Declaration was a substitute that was not
worth any thing; and he would not believe
that the character of it was otherwise,
until, by passing the bill, the authority of
that House told him that the character of
it was different; and then he would say no
more about it.
The Duke of Wellington said, it was
his wish to confine himself to the dis-
cussion of the question actually before
their lordships. But, first of all, he must
assure the right rev. prelate, that if this
was merely an incipient measure-that if
it was intended to be followed up by any
other measure-he was no party to any
such plan. Hehad supported the measure,
not because he wished to destroy the
present system of laws; but because he
believed it to be essential to the preserva-
tion of the peace of the Established Church,
and of the religious peace of the country.
In order that they might not have the
same ground to go over another year, he
had determined at once to give the mea-
sure all the support in his power during
the present session. And now, for the
question before their lordships. It was
proposed that the words on the true
faith of a Christian" should be left out of
the Declaration with the view of admitting
the Jews to office. For his own part, he
did not believe it to be the intention of
the law that Jews should be so admitted:
he did not believe that it was the intention of


the laws that Dissenters shouldbe admitted.
But, be that as it might, they had for the
last eighty years gone on suspending these
laws, and it was notorious that Dissenters
had been admitted into corporations,
although it was the object of the original
laws to keep them out. Now, it appeared
that the legislature was perfectly well
aware that Dissenters were admitted into
corporations. There was a law in exis-
tence, by which it was enacted that mayors
and others should not carry the insignia of
their office to places of worship, except
where the Cathedral service was performed.
Did not the legislature, then, know very
well that Dissenters were admitted into
corporations ? Was not this law a proof
that they were acquainted with the fact?
It was not so, however, with the Jews.
There was no instance in which the legis-
lature had sanctioned the admission of
such persons into office. Under these
circumstances, therefore, he must oppose
the proposition for expunging the words
" on the true faith of a Christian." But
there was another reason why they ought
to remain. It was quite a new principle,
and disliked by this country, that Jews
should be admitted into corporations and
public offices. If, however, the principal
was to be recognized, let that question be
fairly brought forward, and not be intro-
duced, on the third reading, into a bill
which originally contemplated nothing of
the kind. He must really take the liberty
of suggesting to their lordships that the
more convenient course of proceeding, and
the only course likely to bring their lord-
ships' labours to a termination, would be
for noble lords to confine themselves to
the point immediately under discussion,
and avoid the debating of points alien
from that before the House.
The Marquis of Lansdowne said, that if
the noble and learned lord (Eldon) chose
not only to repeat all his former argu-
ments, but even to argue prospectively, no
doubt he was at perfect liberty to do so.
But the noble and learned lord having
done so, and the right rev. prelate having
had an opportunity of stating on what
ground the rev, bench had acted, nothing
could be more convenient than the course
recommended by the noble duke. Let
him, therefore, now call the attention of
their lordships to the motion before them.
His noble friend (lord Holland) had stated,
that he did not mean to divide the House
upon his motionr but that he had made it





169 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


-first, for the purpose of recording his
opinion on the Journals of their lordships;
and secondly, in order that he might have
an opportunity of stating doubts respect-
ing the manner in which those words
would affect the Jews, and of suggesting
to their lordships the consideration of what
degree of claim the Jews might have upon
the legislature. This, he thought, had
been distinctly answered. There was no
intention under this act of depriving the
Jews of any of the advantages which they
now possessed. Beyond this he believed
his noble friend did not wish to proceed :
at least he should not feel himself war-
ranted in supporting his noble friend in
any thing else; because, if the Jews were
to be relieved, it must not be by a side
wind, but by a direct proposition. All
that he wished for the Jews then-re-
spectable as he believed them to be, and
well conducted as they for the most part
were-was, that they should be saved
harmless by this bill. As to what had
been stated by the learned lord; first, if
the act of George 1st was still in existence
---he knew that there were some doubts
upon the point, but it was generally be-
lieved that it had expired-all he wished
was, that if, hereafter, it appeared that,
contrary to the intention of parliament,
any class of his majesty's subjects had lost
any of the privileges which they formerly
possessed, their lordships would interfere
and set the matter right. Whatever views
their lordships might entertain as to the
Jews, or Catholics, or any other persons,
he was quite sure that their lordships
would legislate in detail; that they would
look at the justice and expediency on
which each question rested; and would
not, by a side-wind, pronounce an opinion
on any but the subject on which they
were called upon to legislate. They had
already heard that the Jews were now
kept out of parliament, because thy
would not meet the legislature half wa\,
and swear upon the faith of a Christian,
as a noble earl, on the cross-bench, had
said he would swear on the faith of a Jew.
By the present measure they were merely
excluded to the same extent. This bill,
therefore, did no more than the present
law : if it were found that it did, he was
quite sure that the case of the Jews would
be attended to.
The Earl of Guilford said, that, what-
ever might be said to the contrary, it must
be admitted that this was a revolutionary


measure. For what was a revolutionary
measure ? It was a measure that sub-
verted the fundamental principles of the
constitution. He would state what he
felt those principles to be. They were,
that there should be a king, lords, and
commons; and these, together with the
laws which ascribed to each part its se-
veral functions, formed the fundamental
laws of the constitution. But these laws
were changeable, and whenever they were
changed that was a revolution. The act
passed in the reign of Henry 8th giving
the king's proclamations the force of law
was a revolution; for it overthrew the
balance of the state. The act for the
divorce of the same monarch, by which
his issue by his first queen was bastardized,
was revolutionary, as it clearly affected
the succession to one branch of the legis-
lature. The act also by which that mo-
narch was permitted to demise the Crown,
possessed the same character, because it
thereby altered the constitution. He
maintained that the Corporation and Test
acts were of the nature of fundamental
laws. They immediately affected the
safety of one branch of the constitution.
The noble lord, who originally introduced
the bill represented those acts as having
been passed at different periods, and
against different parties, and therefore he
had argued they were not an essential
part of the constitution. Now, he would
maintain that they were founded on prin-
ciples engendered by the Reformation. It
was not necessary that they should have
existed while the Crown exercised its
high prerogative, nor during the persecu-
tions that followed. But they saw the
light in the dawn of religious liberty, and
they had uniformly answered one purpose
when they had been enacted or upheld;
they had maintained the existing order of
things, whatever it might be, against its
enemies, whomsoever they might be. He
wished to know to what length the noble
lord would go, who had talked so much
of restoring the lawful prerogative of the
Crown. Would he re-establish the au-
thority of the two first kings of the House
of Stuart ? Or would he go still further
back to the arbitrary line of Tudor?
These were not times, he thought, when
the prerogative was to be wielded over the
liberties of the people, The noble lord in
his view of those times, had placed him-
self in opposition to all the commentators
on the laws, and all the historians of these


APRIL 28, 1828. 170






1 I HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Act Repeal' Bill.


transactions. Notwithstanding what the
noble lord had said, there was no period
when better laws had been made; and for
this reason, that there was just then a
coincidence of the abuses of the pre-
rogative, and of the excesses of the liberty
of the people. The legislators of that day
had acted with the wisdom of statesmen,
Who were enabled to foresee a remedy
which would be applicable to the evils
they had' to encounter. He would quote,
in support of his opinions, the historical
work of Mr. Fox, in which it was stated,
that good laws were then brought to
the greatest theoretical perfection." The
noble lord had put this question on the
ground of the Revolution, and how ? He
had brought king William the Third down
to' that House, to inform their lordships,
what were the doctrines and principles of
th% Revolution ? But he trusted their
lordships would rather receive that in-
formation from the mouth of king Wil-
liam's opponents, who had not his preju-
dices. But what were the principles
adopted at the Revolution? They were
those of Toleration, and of Tests against
the dangers that might arise from the ex-
cesses to which religious liberty might be
carried. Toleration and Test acts were
two thitigs that must always go together.
Either there must be a Test act or no
toleration, oC no Established Church. He
mriditaired, that the possession of power
and public confidence formed no part of
the right of the subject. They depended
wholly on his moral qualification, and
they were bestowed on the individual, not
for his own benefit, but for the public
Welfare. In support of this opinion, he
would quote a passage from an eminent
author, who had written lately on the
cotlsfitution, aid who certainly was no
churchman in his principles. He did not
profess to recite the very words: but the
sentiment, in which he entirely agreed,
Was to this effect;-" If any man wanted
td govel n or hold any office of trust, it was
right to inquire what were his qualifica-
tidt h; but if he only wanted to live in
pdac~ as a subject, the state had no right
to scrutinize his religious opinions." The
gteatet the toleration which was allowed,
the nlbre cautious the state should be to
gtuard against the licentious excesses of
fanaticism, and the evil designs that might
be entetainel d under the cover of religious
scruples. The Test act was as sure a sign
of ieligious liberty in a country, as the


growth of a certain plant was evidence to
the- traveller of the mildness of the climate
through which he passed.
The amendment moved by lord Holland
was negatived pro forma. After which
the earl of Eldon moved, the insertion of
the words "I am a Protestant" in the
Declaration.
The Earl of Harrowby said, that as the
noble and learned lord had not enforced
his proposition by any new argument, he
should not be justified in detaining their
lordships at any great length. He was
anxious for the success of the present
measure, and he wished that the grounds
on which he supported it should be fairly
and properly stated. That support was
founded on the same principle which he
had advanced, this day, on presenting a
petition to their lordships. He was
anxious, above all things, on the one hand,
in effecting the object of the present bill,
which he had much at heart, that no
advantage should be taken of it, with
reference to the success of any other mea-
sure; while, on the other, he hoped that
any amendment which seemed to cast the
slightest suspicion on their lordships'
motives, or which seemed, in any degree,
to prejudge another great question, should
be rejected. If the words I am a Pro-
testant" had been originally introduced
into the Declaration in the other House
of Parliament-if, without being the sub-
ject of discussion, it had formed part of
the bill when it came upto their lordships'
House-he, in that case, should have op-
posed any amendment moved for the pur-
pose of altering it. But the circumstances
were perfectly different, and he could see
no use whatever in inserting in the bill the
words now proposed. What was the state
of the bill? It might be considered pre-
sumption for him to declare his opinion
on its provisions, when the two greatest law
authorities in the House had already
given theirs. He would take either of
their opinions, and still, whichever he
adopted, he felt himself justified in sup-
porting the bill in its present state. If his
noble and learned friend on the woolsack
were correct in his opinion, then it was
impossible that any thing could be more
decidedly unnecessary than the amend-
ment; because, according to his statement,
the Declaration against transubstantiation
must be taken by those who had any con-
nexion with the government of corpora-
tions. Here then was an efficient security.






155 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 156


years. But, on the contrary, he declared
with pain, that whenever the corn question
came on for discussion, it was argued by
them on the most selfish, and narrow-
minded principles, that any legislature
ever condescended to listen to. He was
himself a landed proprietor; but he dis-
dained to seek protection for his interests
in that capacity, by means which, being
intended for the benefit of one class of the
community, must one day crush them all.
le hoped that the government would
stand by their own system, without listen-
ing to the projects of those, with whom he,
for one, acknowledged that he could not
trust himself.
Sir M. W. Ridley disapproved of the
system of taking averages, and expressed
his perfect approbation of the measure
proposed by the right hon. gentleman (Mr.
C. Grant.)
The committee divided: for the original
motion 230; for the amendment 32;
majority 198.
Mr. Portman proposed as an amend-
ment to the resolution establishing the
descending scale at steps of Is. each, that
instead of Is. advance in duty upon every
integral shilling of fall in pricebetween 62s.,
it should be 2s. for every integral shilling
decrease. This was the scale of last year,
and he had not heard any satisfactory
reason for the departure from that arrange-
ment.
Mr. Western wished to ask the right
hon. gentleman opposite, what discovery
he had made which had induced him to
abandon the scale on the descending
price, which he bad proposed to the House
last year, and to adopt one which gave
inferior protection to agriculture? It was
admitted, that the country did not stand
in need of a foreign supply, and that the
object of this bill was to prevent any such
supply, up to a certain point. Why, then,
did they refuse to satisfy those who appre-
hended that these duties were insufficient ?
The most intelligent among the growers
of corn thought that the reduced scale of
duties on the descending price was insuffi-
cient; and it was deviating from the mea-
sure of last year in this respect, that made
the bill look like a compromise, which
gave a higher price but removed protection.
He admitted the advantages of this bill:
it was a point gained : it had satisfied the
country, that there were those in the cabi-
net who would give protection to agricul-
ture, an had relieved the people from


those apprehensions which they had lately
felt.
Mr. Secretary Huskisson did not know
if the hon. gentleman had addressed his
question to him. If he had, he could
assure the hon. member that, without hav-
ing recourse to compromise of principle,
this deviation had taken place. It appeared
to him, however, that one part of the hon.
member's speech was an answer to the
other. On the one hand there were great
apprehensions, and on the other, confi-
dence in the government: he thought,
therefore, that the two feelings might be
safely left to balance each other. He did,
however, think that there could not be
much alarm in the country on this point;
for if there had been, they would have
seen a different division from that which
they had just witnessed. The hon. member
had asked, why they had given protection
on the ascending scale, and taken it from
the other ? It was thought that 60s. was
the price at which protection should be
given to British agriculture-protection
which could not amount to strict prohibi-
tion, but which would prevent any material
importation of foreign corn. It was
thought, from the experience they had had
since the last year, that a duty of 20s, was
not sufficient, and therefore the duty had
been raised to 24s. On making this
change, it was thought advisable also to
make the alteration in the descending
scale of which thehon. membercomplained.
The committee divided: for the original
motion 140; for the amendment 50;
majority 90. After which, the chairman
reported progress.

HOUSE OF LORDS.
Monday, April 28.
TEST AND CORPORATION ACTS RE-
PEAL BILL.] The bill was read a third
time. After which, the clerk proceeded
to read the bill, until he came as far as the
Declaration in the second clause, upon
which
Lord Holland rose to propose an amend-
ment. The Declaration, as it stood at
present, commenced in these words ;-" I
A. B., do solemndlyeclare, in the presence
of God, &c. on the true faith of a Chris-
tian." Now, to the previous form of words
he did not object; but with respect to the
present, he felt it due to that most respect-
able body of Christians, the Society of
Friends, to state, that these words were






Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


According to both the noble and learned
lords, the lower grades of corporations
were open to the Roman Catholics-be-
cause, as he understood, neither the Oath
of Supremacy, nor the Declaration against
transubstantiation, was required with re-
ference to them. With respect to the
higher offices, it was doubtful whether it
was necessary that an individual called
upon to act as a mayor or an alderman,
but who was not a justice of the peace,
was bound to take the oaths in question.
But, as to those persons who filled the
important situation of justice of the peace,
it was quite clear that they were obliged
to take the Declaration against transub-
stantiation. Now, with respect to those
who took high office in corporations, it
was admitted that they must take both the
Oath of Supremacy and the Declaration
against transubstantiation; and if the
noble and learned lord opposite were right
in his interpretation, but a very small
number of persons, and those filling minor
offices in corporations, were exempted
from subscribing that Declaration; but,
ex confesso, it appeared, with reference to
them, that the obstacle of the Oath of
Supremacy stood ever in their way. Now
as, according to one of those noble and
learned lords, it was impossible to shew
any necessity for this insertion, and as,
according to the other, any expedient
must be reduced to a point so extremely
narrow, he could not help thinking that
the introduction of those words was totally
unnecessary-and being unnecessary, they
ought, he conceived, to be received with
great jealousy on the part of their lord-
ships, lest they might be looked upon as
prejudicing another great question, which
sooner or later they would be called on to
consider. He hoped, therefore, their lord-
ships would not admit an amendment,
which would not, he believed, exclude
from corporations a single individual who
might now obtain admission into them,
and yet would have the effect of preju-
dicing a question on which the minds of
their lordships ought to be completely
open and uninfluenced. On these grounds,
he hoped their lordships would not agree
to this amendment. Indeed, he was sure
that their lordships would not, on any
particular occasion, sanction the insertion
of words which appeared to have reference
to another question that was to be settled
hereafter. Actuated by these feelings, he
could not consent to the amendment.


With respect to the observations which
had been made on the right rev. bench,
for the course they had pursued with re-
ference to the bill, he would perhaps be
allowed to say, that the right rev. bench
had done themselves, throughout the dis-
cussion of this question, the greatest
credit. Without losing sight of the in-
terests of the establishment, their conduct
had been firm, temperate, and conciliatory.
One part of the speech which the right
rev. prelate (the bishop of Durham) had
addressed to their lordships, with so much
effect had attracted his attention in a pe-
culiar degree. That right rev. prelate had
observed, that he feared the unfounded
calumnies which had been cast upon him
and his rev. friends, with respect to their
conduct on this question, had made some
impression abroad. But, on other occa-
sions, the same course of misrepresentation
had been pursued, and with as little effect,
he was sure, as would attend the ground-
less accusations brought forward in this
instance. The right rev. bench must re-
collect, that in the course of the debates in
their lordships' House on the bill against oc-
casional conformity in queen Anne's reign,
bishop Hough, and the other prelates who
opposed that measure, were accused of
having made a compromise of the rights and
privileges of their order. But the mitre of
that great man did not, in consequence
of that attack, shine less unsullied-his
name was no less dear to his country on
account of the promulgation of that ca-
lumny. The right rev. prelate, to whose
observation he had alluded, might, in like
manner, smile at the calumnies which he
had mentioned. The spirit out of which
they arose was, he felt happy to say,
sinking deeper and deeper into that ob-
livion from which he confidently hoped it
would never again emerge.
The Bishop of Chester said :-I trust I
may be allowed in a few words to explain
why 1 oppose the amendment. I am not
disposed to place the Roman Catholics
nearer the attainment of the object
they have for so many years sought, un-
less they offer a more substantial security
than any they have at present proposed.
When your lordships divided on the for-
mer occasion, I forbore from voting, be-
cause, I must confess, I was in a state of
doubt as to the practical effect of the
amendment on the political condition of
the Roman Catholics. I must acknow-
ledge that I, for one, was perfectly satis-


APRIL 28, 1828. i 7 4






175 HOUSE OF LORDS, Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill. 176


fled with the bill, as it came to your lord-
ships' House from another place; and I
have no hesitation in adding that I ear-
nestly wish the opportunity had been al-
lowed your lordships of passing it as it
was presented to us. It would be disin-
genuous if I did not admit, that certain
amendments which have been proposed,
and almost unanimously adopted, are im-
provements, though not, in my opinion,
absolutely necessary; but still I think, if
the measure had gone through the House
with the least possible discussion, it would
have worn a greater appearance of unani-
mity, and would have been more indica-
tive of a spirit of conciliation and kindness
towards those whom it was intended to
benefit. On this principle I do not feel
myself at liberty to support any further
amendment that is not absolutely neces-
sary to secure the interests and privileges
of the Church. Since I abstained from
voting on this particular question, I have
taken some pains to make myself master
of it, and it is my conviction now that
the amendment is wholly unnecessary; I
mean, of course, for the protection of the
Church, the object which we are bound to
keep in view, while we consent to give re-
lief to the Dissenters. I find that all per-
sons who take offices of trust and govern-
ment in corporations as low as common-
councilmen, are obliged to take the Oath
of Supremacy. It has been said, I know,
that this is not sufficient to keep out the
Roman Catholics; but I am of a contrary
opinion. The most respectable members
of that body have declared, in the most
unqualified manner, that no sincere Catho-
lic could take that oath without a legisla-
tive explanation declaratory of the animus
imponentis. Attempts have been made at
an earlier period, I am aware, to reconcile
the conscience of Roman Catholics to this
oath, and in some few instances it has
been taken; but the most learned and
eminent professors of that religion have
declared that no conscientious Roman
Catholic could take it, "unless explained
by the legislature, without compromising
his religion, and giving scandal to his
church." I fully believe that no Roman
Catholic of the present day would take the
Oath of Supremacy, in order to qualify for
office. Believing, therefore, that the Oath
of Supremacy is sufficient, I am not wil-
ling to impose on the Roman Catholics any
additional restriction, or any test that
would seem to fasten further disabilities on


them. The one simple object of the pre-
sent bill is, to relieve both Dissenters and
Churchmen from a test which is disagree-
able to them; and I should be sorry to
introduce a form of words which would
have the appearance of an anti-Catholic
declaration. When that great political
question comes on, I shall do my duty
without favour or fear, and view the sub-
ject calmly and fairly, in all its bearings,
as I have done on former occasions, when
I opposed the admission of Roman Catho-
lics to office, because they offered no se-
curity to the Established Church. But
in looking to the present proposition, I
think your lordships have no right to make
this an opportunity of introducing an anti-
Catholic declaration. If you give, in place
of the Test and Corporation acts, an equi-
valent security, it is all the Church has a
right to expect, and all that your lordships
are bound to grant. Perhaps your lord-
ships will excuse me if I say one word,
and but one word, on an accusation which
has, again and again, been brought before
your lordships in many forms. The accu-
sation is, that the right reverend bench,
or the majority of them, are compromising
the interests of the Established Church,
and relinquishing those securities on which
they ought to insist. This is said with re-
ference to the Test and Corporation acts,
as perpetuated by the Act of Union.
When such a charge as this is made, I
am happy to have it in my power to refer
(and I wish I had done so formerly, when
the subject was before the House) to the
opinion expressed by an eminent, able,
and most; conscientious lawyer-one who
had for many years discharged the duties
of a high judicial function, with honour
to himself, and great advantage to his
country,-I allude to the late lord Kenyon,
who used these remarkable expressions in
his correspondence with an exalted per-
sonage, now no more: So long as the
king's supremacy, .and the main fabric of
the act of Uniformity, the doctrine, disci-
pline, and government, of the Church of
England are preserved, as of a National
Church, and the provision for her minis-
ters kept as an appropriated fund, it seems
that any ease given to sectaries, would not
militate against the Coronation Oath, or
the Act of Union." With reference to
a similar charge against this bench, the
noble earl who has just sat down has re-
ferred to the transactions in Queen Anne's
reign, when complaints more violent, not





177 Corporation and Test Acts Repeal Bill.


to say virulent, were made against those
who filled the chief seats of the Church,
when the unjustifiable bill against Occa-
sional Conformity was introduced. The
following are the words of the zealous and
able prelate who was the historian of his
own times: "Angry men took occasion
from hence, to charge the bishops, as ene-
mies of the Church, and betrayers of its
interests; because we would not run blind-
fold into the passions and designs of ill-
natured men: though we can appeal to
all the world, and what is more, to God
himself, that we did faithfully and zea-
lously pursue the true interests of the
church; the promoting religion and learn-
ing; the encouraging of all good men and
good designs; and that we did apply
ourselves to the duties of our functions,
and to the work of the gospel."
Lord Kenyon said, that nothing could
have been further from his intention than
to offer himself to the House; but after
the right rev. prelate had appealed to the
authority of his revered parent, he felt it
his duty, to the best of his ability, to rescue
his character from the imputation which
seemed to rest upon it, if the sentence
quoted from his letter was considered
alone. If the right rev. prelate had read
the whole letter, their lordships would
have seen, that his venerated ancestor
having been consulted by his gracious
sovereign-who reposed such confidence
in him, that to him he referred the ques-
tion, how far he was legally bound by his
Coronation oath, not to consentto measures
affecting the Established Church his
revered father had given an opinion, in
which, while he had advised that every
thing consistently with the safety of the
Established Church should be granted,
for the ease of the tender consciences of
the Dissenters, no concession of political
power should be made to them. This
opinion was expressed as clearly as pos-
sible.--The question before the House was
simply whether it was fit, in this bill for
the relief of the Protestant Dissenters, to
insert words to maintain the law as it ex-
isted with respect to the Roman Catholics ?
In point of principle, there could be no
doubt they were not admissible into cor-
porations, as their admission would be pre-
judicial to the interests of both Church
and State. All he looked for was the
security of the Established Church, which
he venerated not only for its spiritual
character, but for the political influence it


exercised for the support of the constitu-
tion. The great majority of the bench of
bishops, he observed, had shewn little or
no concern for either The right rev. pre-
lates, he was sorry to say, had shewn much
more regard for the temporalities of the
Church than for its spiritual welfare.
Suppose a question of temporal interest,
on which two lawyers of equal knowledge
being consulted as to a particular course,
gave different opinions-one saying it
would be unsafe, the other saying the re-
verse-what would anybody do ? He
intreated the-House, therefore, on a ques-
tion where two such great lawyers as the
late and present Chancellors differed, to
take the safe course, and insert the words
that would be sure to exclude the Roman
Catholics.
The Bishop of Chester said, he had
quoted the words of the illustrious lawyer
to whom he had referred, for the purpose
of showing that he considered the integrity
of the Church of England to consist in the
recognition of the doctrine and discipline,
and the legalized support of her ministers.
The Bishop of Llandaff said, the ques-
tion in this case was not one of law, but
rather as to the theological interpretation
of the Oath of Supremacy, which must be
taken by all those entering corporations.
Now, upon that point, he believed he was
right in asserting, that it was the opinion
of almost the whole of that bench, that
the Oath of Supremacy formed a suffi-
cient barrier against the introduction of
Roman Catholics.
The Earl of Eldon said, that his opinion,
that the Oath of Supremacy was not a
sufficient security, was confirmed by the
judgment of the House on more than one
occasion. He also complained, that the
recital of the bill upon the table was most
insidious, and omitted the most important
words of the two acts from which it pro-
fessed to be copied : namely, those in
which the inviolability of the true Pro-
testant Religion as established by law
was affirmed." It was to secure that
" true Protestantreligion," in the bill under
consideration, that he should divide the
House upon his amendment.
The Duke of Wellington said, the
learned lord had just told them, that par-
liament had frequently decided that the
Oath of Supremacy was not a sufficient se-
curity against the Roman Catholics. But
the learned lord had not stated, that the
Oath of Supremacy was altered by the act


APRIL 28, 1828. 178




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