Imatges de pÓgina

should be a division of opinion re- weight, even if it stood alone, and specting the granting of a charter to unopposed by the weighty opinion of an individual, what could be done ? the late President of the Court of SesIt might be of importance to an indivi- sion, Sir Ilay Campbell, but above dual at the moment when an election all, of the Chief-Baron Shepherdapproached. The noble lord had him- an individual who had gone so lately self alluded to elections. A judge from this country, after acquiring a could give up his opinion where a thorough and extensive knowledge court of review decided against it ; of the whole body of the laws of these but why should a judge give up his kingdoms, and whose special duty it opinion, if an honest and conscien- was, if it were any one's, to say whetious one, when there was no court ther an appointment of this nature of review? The consequence would was or was not necessary. He did therefore be, when there was an equal not know what authority the Chief, division, that no charter and no tu- Baron's name might have there; but tory would be issued. He could not certain he was, that in his (the Lord see how such an evil could be reme- Advocate's) part of the country, they died without an inequality of num- felt grateful to his Majesty's minisbers. He contended that the com- ters for having sent among them a missioners had exceeded their powers, man whose talents as a judge were and went entirely out of their way, not more respected than his virtues when they reported on the constitu- as an individual were admired. After tion of the Court of Exchequer. Their attaining to very high honours in his instructions were, as stated in their profession, he declined those highest own report, to inquire into the fees, ones to which he might reasonably salaries, and emoluments of the se- and certainly have aspired, and, in veral clerks, officers, and ministers of the discharge of his duty, was willing, justice. Now, he would be glad to at his time of life, to undertake that know under which of these heads the duty, accompanied as it was with the “judges" were meant to be included? necessity of forming new connexions, As to the commissioners themselves, and in a distant part of the kingdom; with all the respect and esteem which although the office was of a nature he entertained for them personally, far below that which he might have he must say that he did consider them been entitled to claim. He submitto be unqualified. One of them, af- ted, then, that unless they were willter practising at the bar, went into ing to suppose that there was somethe country and lived upon his estate, thing infectious in the air of Scotland, without returning to his practice; which had the effect of instantly de. another went to India, and, after stay- stroying that character of honour ing there for some time, returned, and which an individual had sustained lived almost entirely in the country; through life, it was utterly incredible and a third, having also practised and impossible that the learned judge some time at the bar, retired to his in question, when called upon to deestate, improved the country round cide on the constitution of the court it, but never returned to the profes- over which he was to preside, should sion. Now he thought proper to have concurred in the propriety of an mention these circumstances, be- appointment of which he did not see cause he would submit to the House and feel the necessity. It was a misthat the opinions of that commission take that the late Lord Chief Baron could not be entitled to any great was ever more than a year absent from the court at a time; thts was been requtred to affirm, not the rewhen unavoidably obliged to go abroad port of a deputation of its own body, by the state of bis health ; but even but the mere dictum of four out of five when generally residing at Bath, he gentlemen in no way connected with came and attended the regular terms. Parliament. He could not agree to

Some observations were made by the present motion ; on the contrary, Sir John Newport, in defence of Lord he should move the previous question Archibald Hamilton's motion.

upon it ; but he would assent, on any Lord Castlereagh now came for future day, to refer the whole quesward in defence of the appointment. tion to a select committee. The noble The noble lord (A. Hamilton) had lord (A. Hamilton) seemed to think called upon the House, without pre- that he had made out a good case in vious inquiry, without any evidence favour of four Barons, if he could in the appendix of the report, and shew that even once the business of without suggesting any facts on his the court had been transacted withown authority, to come to the con- out the presence of the fifth ; and beclusion that the constitution of the cause he found that one ministerial Court of Exchequer in Scotland ought officer was a poet, he jumped at the to be changed that that constitution conclusion that all the offices could for ages had been faulty-and that be discharged as well by poets as by the decision of certain commissioners lawyers. Yet was it not known to all ought to be preferred to the deli- whó heard him, that the brightest luberate judgment of the learned heads minary of the law of modern times, of all the different Courts. Lord C. Lord Mansfield, had long been incaindignantly repelled the insinuation pacitated from attending the court to that ministers felt any reluctance to fulfil his judicial functions, and no redress and reform actual abuses; but man had been so obtuse in his faculto represent them as looking only to ties as to argue from thence that the influence and patronage, and all pub- office of Chief-Justice was a sinecure. lic virtue and purity as monopolized He begged to be allowed to say, that by their antagonists, was a language of all economies abhorrent to comby no means new to gentlemen on the mon sense, that was the most absurd opposite side of the House, and par- which regarded the bench-to secure ticularly convenient at the opening of the pure administration of justice was a new Parliament. He did not mean always the best economy.

He must to blame the commissioners for tra- congratulate the other side of the velling into various matters, and mak- House upon the cheerfulness they dising the suggestion they had done re- played. They were never so happy specting the Court of Exchequer ; at as when they had got some paltry the same time, if it had been the pur- thousand pounds to peck at : as soon pose of the House to authorise them as they had hold of a particular sum, to examine into the constitution of how they rejoiced in their supposed the Courts of Scotland, as well as into advantage, until the necessity of its the mere details of fees, he could not payment was shewn, and then they help thinking that individuals of a endeavoured to overcome argument different class would have been more by clamour. The constituents of the properly nominated to such high, im- noble lord were a little too enlightportant, and extensive functions. He ened to be persuaded even by him believed that the present was the first that the addition of a poor thousand occasion on which the House had pounds would make a serious differ

ence in their domestic finances. Did man who lifted his unhallowed hand the noble lord seriously mean to be against it! The noble lord had cer. understood that the sum of 10001. tainly made a very dexterous speech would make all the difference between —it possessed all his wonted circuitpractical allegiance and open rebel- ous ingenuity, and the result must lion in Scotland ? He had every re- have satisfied the House, that if his spect for commissioners and their re- health had recently suffered, his inports ; but he could not help remark- tellects and abilities were as great as ing, that if their suggestions were ever. The Lord Advocate had come held conclusive and mandatory-if down to the House like a true Scotchthey were to be erected into judges man, that was, like an honest man, in supreme, without appeal—it would and had maintained that nothing could throw the whole organization and ad- induce him to think the appointment ministration of the country into irre- of a fifth Baron wrong-five was the mediable confusion.

true, orthodox, infallible number in Mr Tierney made an animated Scotland ; and that no change was speech against ministers, and endea- wanted, and no inquiry to produce voured to ridicule the shifts to which one. But what was the conduct of they had recourse in opposing all the noble lord ? First, he makes the economical reform. If a proposition appointment—then he justifies itwere brought forward for some ge- and, thirdy, he requires a committee neral financial reform, then the cry to ascertain whether it was right or of the other side was, that the whole wrong. But, looking at the whole of fabric of the state was about to be the circumstances, he would askoverset ; and if a particular practical could any man say that this was not retrenchment were suggested, the cry a plain, downright, unequivocal job? was, “What a fuss you are making The fact was, ministers dared not reabout nothing-what a noise about fuse the appointment of Sir Patrick one or two thousand pounds !” In Murray: he did not intend by any fact, if ministers were credited, they means to disparage the qualifications were the only proper judges of what of that gentleman, but the ministers public money should be spent, and were afraid to refuse his appointment. who ought to spend it. It was im- They well knew that if they had done possible for them to be economical so, they would have lost some votes - they were obliged to call in the aid in that House. The present Chiefof patronage and influence for their Baron of Scotland (Sir S. Shepherd) support—they existed upon it-it was

had lately been an ornament to that the foundation of all their hopes, and House. He went down, not fully they could not lose even the fifth part acquainted with the practice of the of a fifth Baron of the Exchequer, Scottish courts--a stranger amongst without some risk to their stability. them—and it might have been said, The establishment was the strong-hold “Don't you think we ought to have behind which ministers entrenched five Barons instead of four?” to which themselves. If any body spoke of re- he, in his good nature, would say, moving the third Secretary of State, In the name of God, let us have or of abolishing the Secretary at War, five ;" and then the Scotchmen cried the cry was the same- _" it breaks in out, “ Five for ever!” Considering upon the establishment:" it was soon how favourite a number five appearvery easy to call the establishmented to be in Scotland, and what infi. the constitution, and then woe to the nite mischiefs might result from reducing it to four, it was somewhat proposition into refecting the present odd that the Lord Advocate should motion, they would put an end to all have consulted the opinions of only hope of economy and retrenchment. four beads of courts. With still

greater After a few words from Mr W. singularity he had actually appealed Dundas on the ministerial side, the from the magic and mysterious five House divided, when the motion was to dangerous and neglected four, and negatived, but by a majority so small, now set up the opinion of four judges as plainly shewed a strong sense unagainst the decision of five commis- favourable to the appointment. Of sioners! In short, Mr T. contended, 366 members present, 177 voted for that the present appointment was a the motion, and 189 against it, maka manifest abuse; and that if the House ing a majority only of 12. were entrapped by Lord Castlereagh's



Mr Holme Sumner's Motion relative to Agricultural Distress.Lord Lans

downe's Motion relative to Foreign Trade.Other Debates on this Subject. -Motion for Disfranchising Grampound.- The Alien Bil.Mr Brougham on the Education of the Poor.-Welsh Judicature.

The subject which, beyond per- kets, the seasons, and over nature ithaps any other, occupied the atten- self. It did not appear very conceition of Parliament during this early vable that a power which could make period of the session, was the very war and peace on earth, and could serious distress in which the agricul- sway the destinies of twenty millions tural interest was involved. The great of men, should not be able to regulate depression consequent upon the low the price of a peck of oatmeal, or a prices of 1814 and 1815 had been pound of butter. It was some time, sensibly mitigated by the rise which indeed, ere Parliament itself became ensued after the scanty crops of 1816 fully aware of its own impotence, or and 1817. The plentiful produce of could believe that all its ponderous 1818, however, caused a rapid fall, machinery of committees, examinaand though that of 1819 was much tions, and reports, had no action whatinferior, yet the ample stock on hand ever on the movements of the econocaused the depression of prices still mical machine. By welcoming and to continue, when there was no su- acting upon the applications made to perabundant quantity to compensate it, this assembly encouraged the false for it. A general cry of distress rose expectations which the nation had among the landlords and farmers in been led to cherish from its interfethe different quarters of the kingdom, rence. Buoyed up by these, the farmand petitions to Parliament for relief ers now came, and demanded that were poured in. There is a sort of Parliament should procure for them a impression throughout this country, price for their grain, such as would as if parliament were omnipotent—as pay the expense of cultivation. The if its empire extended over the mar- fact, however, was, that Parliament

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