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CHAPTER X.

Parliamentary affairs.- Motions for adjournment in both Houses.

Remarks on the offices of Attorney-gen. and Chief Justice of Chester teing held by the same person.-- Alr, Golbourne's Bill respecting colo nial offices. Sir Samuel Romilly's bills respecting Corruption of Blood, and the punishment of High Treason.- Lord Morpeth's motion relative to the Speaker's address to the Prince Regent in the last seso sion.-Debates in both Houses on the conduct of this Government towards the Norwegians,

U AVING now brought to the which parliament was pledged to

I close of the year our sum: take into its most serious consimary of the most important pub- deration during this session, and lic occurrences on the European why might it not in the meantime continent, we turn our view upon be proceeded with? The hearing Great Britain, and to those do. of appeal causes was another inatmestic transactions which, if af- ter of such great interest, that their fording less splendid matter for Lordships had thought it requisite narration, can never want interest to alter the whole scheme of the for the English reader.

courts of justice in order to give it Parliament having met on March greater facilities; surely with the ist, after the adjournment, a mes- resolution of proceeding in them sage was received by both Houses with promptitude and dispatch. from the Prince Regent, recom- Though he would not throw any * mending a further adjournment obstacles in the way of the motion,

to the 21st of the month. In the he had thought it his duty to call House of Lords, a motion for ad their lordships' attention to the sajournment being in consequence crifices they were making in givmade, the Marquis of Lansdowne ing their concurrence. rose to say, that he had no in- The Earl of Liverpool found it tention to oppose the motion, necessary to say but a few words though he felt some reluctance at with reference to what had been concurring in it, since he could not observed by the noble marquis. hold it as a doctrine, that because He would throw himself upon the one important branch of public indulgence of their lordships, on business could not be proceeded the question of the propriety of an with (alluding to the pending ne. adjournment. The Prince Regociations), the prosecution of all gent's ministers had taken into other business sbould be suspended. their consideration the possible or A great quantity of private and probable inconveniences that might other business stood for discussion arise from the measure, and the

result

result was, that no inconvenience comment. He trusted that he was likely to arise from it, equal should not be understood as ineanto that which might accrue from ing any thing disrespectful to the the parliament's continuing to sit. · learned gentleman in question, This was all that he conceived it who had merely done as others had proper at present to say on the done before him ; but he had felt subject.

it bis duty to throw out these obAfter a few remarks from other servations, on which, however, he members, which it is not material did not mean to found any motion. to notice, the motion for adjourn. No other remarks were made on ment was put and carried without the subject, and the motion for the opposition:

writ passed of course. In the House of Commons, on The adjournment to March 21st, March ist, after an unprecedented was moved in this House by the number of private bills had been Chancellor of the Exchequer, in read for the first time, upon a mo- the same manner as in the other, tion for a new writ for the bo- by way of communication from rough of Eye in the room of Sir the Prince Regent, and as its being W. Garrow, who had accepted the “ his pleasure." Mr. Whitbread, office of Chief Justice of Chester, after observing that he had no beSir Sanuel Romilly rose, and ob- sitation in voting for an adjourn. served that the gentleman in re- ment, and for an acquiescence in spect of whom the motion had the pleasure of his Royal Highbeen made, being his Majesty's ness, owned that he entertained Attorney General, had not re- come apprehensions, lest the presigned, nor did mean to resign, sent proceedings should be drawn that office on his acceptance of the to a pernicious precedent. He high judicial office described in the wished therefore to have some motion. To him it appeared that records on the journals of the the two offices were incompatible, house, of the grounds on wbich The one being a lucrative office parliament had been induced to held at the sole pleasure of the take such a step. In consequence, crown, its tenure was inconsistent he mored an amendment to the with that independence of the right hon. gentleman's motion, judges which it was so important which, after expressing a cheerful to preserve inviolate. Besides, to compliance with the pleasure of place as a judge over the subject an his Royal Highness, notwithstandattorney-general, whose duty it ing the recent adjournment of the was to maintain the rights of the House, at a season when so many crown against the subject, was matters of the greatest importance not the way to insure the equal pressed themselves upon its consiadministration of justice. These deration, concluded with “trusting two offic s had indeed at former that the unexampled state of public periods been held by the same per. affairs upon the continent of Euson, as in the instances of lord rope will afford a justification of Kenyon and lord Alvanley; but it their conduct to their constituents, was a misfortune that these cases and to posterity, prevent its being had been allowed to pass without drawn into pernicious precedent,

and

and preclude the possibility of its term than during such time as the beiog attributed to inattention to grantee thereof, or person appoint. the great concerns, which call for ed thereto, shall discharge the the increased vigilance and activity duty thereof in person, and behave of the House of Commons, or any well therein." dereliction of its sacred duties.” After a second reading of the

This amendment was opposed bill, the question for going into a by the Chancellor of the Exche committee upon it came on April quer, and not being persisted in, 18th, when Mr Creevey rose to the motion for adjournment was oppose any farther progress. He put and agreed to.

said, it had been miscalled a bill On March 22d, Mr. Gollourn, of reform, and would in effect rose in the House of Commons to sanctify all abuses against a bill move for leave to bring in a bill of reform which had passed in the to amend an act of the 22d of the 22d of the King. He produced king which went to provide that several instances of violation of no office in any of the colonies of the law of residence established in the united kingdom should be en- that bill; and there being a clause trusted to any person who had not in the present bill, “ that nothing resided for a specified time in the in the act should be construed to settlement. He said, that certain extend to any existing appointabuses had crept in which ren- ment or leave of absence granted dered these salutary provisions al. before," he contended that the pure together nugatory. One of the pose was merely to support those chief defects was, that the go- absences which were too rotten vernors and councils of colonies to support themselves. He said, were empowered to grant leave of if the bill was pressed he would absence to persons without limi- divide the House upon it, and tation of time or other restriction, propose what he thought would It was his intention to propose be a much better measure-a re. certain restrictions on governors in solution that the law had been granting such licences, and also to violated in the letter, in the case limit the time to which the leave of the holders of colonial offices which could be granted should ex. by patent, and in spirit and effect tend. He also meant that it by the holders of them by comshould be enacted that annual lists missions. should be laid on the table of the Mr. Gollourn bad not expected, House, containing the names of after the general concurrence with those officers of colonies who were which his bill had first been reabsent from the places to which ceived, to hear it stigmatized with their offices were attached. Leave the purpose of perpetuating and was then given to bring in a bill sanctioning abuse. He thought intituled, “ An Act to prevent the measure proposed as a subthe granting in future any patent stitute was one of the greatest office to be exercised in any colony cruelty and injustice, being no less or plantation now or at any time than to deprive those who had hereafter belonging to the crown received such offices upon the exof Great Britain for any longer press understanding of non-resi

dence,

dence, of the only reward which the clause be rejected." A dirithey had received for meritorious sion ensued, for the clause 32, public services.

against it 9. . · Mr. Creevey thought that at- On the motion for a third readtention to this subject was parti- ing of the bill, May 6th, various cularly called for at this time, when observations on it were made as from the near prospect of peace being futile and unnecessary; and it was probable that a number of Mr. Creevey in particular said it very deserving persons would be ought to be entitled, An Act to reduced to scanty half-pay, on dispense with the Act of the 22d whom such honourable rewards of bis present Majesty, in favour would be probably conferred, and of certain persons (whom he not disposed of to increase minis- named) and who were in possesterial patronage. He then moved sion of colonial offices by patent a resolution conformable to his or commission. On the other intention above stated, as an amend. side, the bill, as far as it went, ment of the motion for the Speak- was represented as a great imer's leaving the chair, which was provement on the colonial system. seconded.

The House dividing on the moA debate ensued, a considerable tion, it was carried by 48 against part of which referred to the ex- 8. The bill was then read a third pression of vested rights used by time, and passed. Mr. Stephen with regard to the The failure of a motion made in interest of colonial offices in the the House of Commons during places which they held during the last year by Sir Samuel Ropleasure. In conclusion, Mr. milly, for a bill to take away the Creevey's amendment was nega- corruption of blood in cases of tived without a division, and the attainder for high treason and House went into a committee. felony, did not discourage that On the reading of a clause of the persevering friend of humanity bill relative to the power of grant- from renewing his attempt in the ing leave of absence to offices in present session. On March 23d, the colonies, Mr. Browne opposed he made a motion for leave to it, and moved “ that leave of ab- bring in a bill, which he stated to sence should not be granted for be precisely similar to that premore than 12 months, nor should sented to the House in the last be renewed for more than the year. He repeated his explanation Jike period, and that absence for of its purpose and objects, saying, more than two years should incur that it did not propose to make forfeiture of the office." This was any alteration in the forfeitures of objected to as too short an allow- property, imposed by the existing ance in several cases, and the mo- laws on persons convicted of high tion was withdrawn. The last treason or felony, but merely to clause being read, by which it was do away what was termed cordeclared, that the provisions of ruption of blood, by virtue of the bill did not extend to persons which such a person could not now holding situations in the co- form a link by which a pedig!ee lonies, Mr. Brownc moved, “ that could be traced, whereby his de

scendants,

scendants, however far removed, ment of high treason ; which was would be deprived of the means granted. of establisbing their right to lands, On the motion for committing to which he, if alive, would have the bill for abolishing corruption a prior rigbt, and such land would of blood, Mr. Yorke enforced his escheat to the lord of the manor. former objections, and said that This law rested upon feudal prin- he should propose leaving out of ciples, which were by no means the bill the words “ or treason," conformable to modern ideas of and that it should run thus : “ that justice, and was in fact a relic of no attainder of felony, not ex. barbarism. It had been said in tending to treason, petty treason, the discussions on the bill in the or murder, do lead to corruption Jast session, that instances of the of blood." evil which he was desirous of Sir James Mackintosh in a guarding against were not likely learned and eloquent speech supto happen ; but at this very time, ported the bill. He gave an ache was professionally concerned in count of the introduction of blood a case precisely in point. A for treason into Scotland, where, woman had been convicted of a as in all other countries of Europe, murder in Oxfordshire 50 years it was unknown, in the reign of ago; and the estate she would have queen Anne, and contended that been entitled to, had she lived, it was by the best authorities rehad passed from one possessor to garded as a temporary expedient ; another, and a valuable considera- and that the making it general and rion had been given for it; yet, unconditional in 1799, was the information having been given, real innovation. He ridiculed the that the property, by reason of idea, that a law through which a corruption of blood, had escheated person unboro might at a remote to the crown, and it being found lime miss an estate, which would by an inquisition, that this was otherwise have come to him, could really the case, claim had been have any effect in deterring a man laid to the property as belonging from the commission of a crime; to the crown.

and he thought there could not be The question being put, Mr. a inore favourable time than the Yorke rose to declare, that he present, for abrogating the rigour must object even to the introduc- of ancient laws. tion of such a bill into parliament. The Solicitor General (Serjeant His reasons were a repetition of Shepherd) in reply denied, that the arguments he had formerly the proceeding of the legislature employed against any alteration of in 1799, with respect to the corthe laws of England, on the ground ruption of blood, was an innovaof a trilling inconvenience, and tion, and asserted that it was particularly against any relaxation rather a restoration of the law as of the punishment for treason. it existed prior to 1708. He was Leave was however given to bring decidedly of opinion, that this ir, the bill ; and Sir S. Romilly punishment ought not to be taken afterwards moved for leave to away in cases of treason. After a bring in a bill to alter the punish, speech from Sir S. Romilly, in

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