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market, they were not in the position | elucidate questions that must soon come which those whose duty it was to ad- under discussion. He also wished to know, minister the financial affairs of the country Whether it was the intention of the Go. could desire.
vernment to remove the political depart
ment for the affairs of India to the west THE WEEDON COMMISSION. end of the town? QUESTION.
LORD STANLEY said, that as to the MR. NICOLL said, he would beg to ask first question, iv the course of the next two the Secretary of State for War whether months he expected to receive the accounts any Report has yet been made by the for 1857-8, and when they arrived they Royal Commission appointed in pursuance would be laid upon the table of the IIouse. of à Vote in this House in the last Session, He did not think it expedient to lay the with the view to inquire into the system estimates simply for that year on the table, upon which the books and stock have been but should have no objection to produce a kept at Weedon, as well as the general despatch containing a general summary of mode in which the business of that esta- the accounts of the year. With respect to blishment and other similar departments the other question, he might say that the of the Public Service has been conducted ; site for a building bad been selected at the and, if such Report has been made, when west end of the town for a new India will the same be laid upon the table ? Office ; the plans were being drawn, and
GENERAL PEEL said, that no Report the building would be proceeded with as had yet been forwarded to him from that rapidly as possible. Commission. He believed that the delay had arisen from the illness of one of the MARRIAGE WITH A DECEASED WIFE'S Commissioners; but the Report would soon
SISTER. be made, and it would speedily be laid on the table of the House.
VISCOUNT BURY moved, " That leave
be given to bring in a Bill to legalize MarCHURCH RATES.-QUESTION. riage with a deceased Wife's Sister.” Sir JOHN TRELAWNY said, he wished MR. BERESFORD HOPE said, he could to ask what course the Government in. not but congratulate the noble Lord on tended to take with reference to the Bill the rapidity with which he bad opened his for the abolition of Church Rates, which campaign this year on the question involved he intended to move for leave to introduce in this Bill, and the manner in which, that evening
as it were, he had taken the Session by MR. WALPOLE said, the question was the forelock. Every hon. Member must rerather an unusual one, but, as far as the collect the Bill of last year they must reGovernment were concerned, if an oppor member the number of petitions presented, tunity were given them of stating fully the the cases that had been brought forward, course which they thought ought to be and the statements that had been so intaken with reference to this question (and geniously marshalled in favour of the prohe had given notice of his intention to make posed change. The Bill, such as it was, that statement on Friday week), they passed that House at every stage ; it went would offer no opposition to the introduc- to "another place” and was there sumtion of the hon. Baronet's Bill. This, marily disposed of. If, therefore, the however, would be on the understanding grievance so pertinaciously urged, and the that the second reading would not be pro- misery so strenuously asserted by the ceeded with until after the Government had noble Lord, last Session, had really exhad an opportunity of making known their isted in one tithe of the intensity reown views and proposals on the subject. presented, it was not too much to ex
pect that that summary rejection of the AFFAIRS OF INDIA.
measure would have raised some measure QUESTION.
of discontent or some slight ebullition of Sir ERSKINE PERRY said, he begged feeling from some corner or other of the to inquire of the Secretary of State for United Kingdom. But no voice had been India, Whether he has not received papers raised to protest against the decision of relating to the finances of India up to a the other House, except it may be in some later date than April, 1857 ? If the noble obscure paper ; the case for the Bill had Lord could give any returns that had been been discredited by :he apathy of the comrecently received they might go far to muvity, and there was the strongest conclusive evidence that the agitation which be brought forward as a reason for rehad been got up on the subject was ficri- pealing any other law in the Statute-book tious or a mere matter of business. At so which pressed upon men's desires, and of early a period of the Session, when there legalising any system of immorality down was so much real legislation to be done, was to the doctrine of “ free love” itself. But it worth while to take up the time of the he (Mr. Beresford Hope) would not argue House in discussing a Bill which, what the question at that stage of the Bill. ever its fate might be there, would not, | A Bill on this subject having already passfor a very long time certainly, become the ed the House, the present one had an oslaw of the land ? If the measure passed tensible claim for a first reading. But the that House it must be thrown out else- Motion having been made without an acwhere. It marshalled against itself the companying statement, he could not allow respectability of England; and the Pres- it to pass without protest, and if any hon. byterians of Scotland and the Roman Ca- Member would move for the rejection of tholics of Ireland, distinct from each other the Bill at that stage, he should be most in almost every shade of thought, were at bappy to vote with him. He trusted other one upon this matter, It would upset the hon. Members would, at least, protest with social condition in this country, and the him against the introduction of the meachief object of its promoters was to save sure, and promise the noble Lord the same from the penalties of the existing law a few strenuous opposition which they had the persons who had not restrained their pas- pleasure of giving him last year. sions, but who had overleaped the easy re
Question put, straints of our tolerant marriage law, and The House divided :- Ayes 155 ; Noes then asked for indemnity for their offence. 85: Majority 70. Those who violated the existing law were Bill ordered to be brought in by Visnot the persons to come forward and plead count Bury, Mr. SCHNEIDER, and Mr. the violation of the law as their excuse MONCKTON MILNES. for seeking a change in that law. The Bill presented and read 1°. noble Lord had already acquired for himself not a little distinction in the eyes of
SITTINGS OF THE HOUSE-MOTION. his fellow-countrymen. He had shown him- MR. W.EWART said, he rose to move, self master of the Hudson's Bay question,
" That on every Tuesday and Thursday (being and in his speeches, which had come back nights on which Government business does not to us from America during the recess, had take precedence) the Ilouse do not sit later than confirmed his reputation, and he besought twelve o'clock at night.” him not to damage his reputation by lend. He believed he was justified in saying that ing himself with irritating pertinacity this Motion was strongly approved by the to an aimless agitation, and by arraying late Speaker (Lord Eversley), one of the against himself the regrets and worse of most able and experienced Speakers who earnest and thinking men by pressing ever presided over the House. He was on the House a Bill which others had un- convinced of the necessity of bringing their successfully endeavoured to pass into a law. debates to a close at an early hour, and Other bonourable and distinguished Mem had repeatedly expressed an opinion that the bers had brought the question forward once, debates on Wednesdays, when the sitting some had done so for a second time, but no terminated at six o'clock, were the best one yet had been found to press it for a third and most practical he ever heard within Session. He trusted bis noble Friend those walls. He (Mr. Ewart) concurred would not be the first to place himself in with the late Speaker : the Motion was exthis position ; anyhow, if he was perti. pedient in every sense of the word. It nacious in his advocacy of the change, he was not a party Motion ; Members on both would not weary out the patience of its sides of the House were in favour of it opponents, but he would find them on if they would venture to speak out ; and every occasion ready and prepared to resist he should imagine that Her Majesty's Gohim with an equal pertinacity. If, how-vernment were not, in their hearts, disposed ever, the noble Lord pressed the Bill to offer any opposition to it. The plan he to a second reading, he ought to be pre-proposed would be to adopt a rule similar to pared with some better argument than that observed on Wednesdays ; that every had yet been advanced in favour of it ; Tuesday and Thursday nights at the hour because the fact that the existing law of half-past eleven, ineasures should be was violated, might with as much justice taken to close all the opposed business,
and then to proceed with the remaining prolonged to a very late hour what would business on the paper which was not of a he behold? There lies the Chancellor of debateable nature, so that the House might the Exchequer, “like Palinurus nodding rise at twelve. He had endeavoured to at the helm.” There the Admiralty, the anticipate what objections could be made impersonation of the naval power of Brito the plan ; but on ordinary nights he could tain, prone, or rather supine, on its beamnot see any objection at all. In fact, it ends." The Home Department, the great would make a very slight change from regulator of the prisons of the empire, is what was the practice already. The busi. itself imprisoned in the bonds of sleep; ness on such nights was now generally and and even the Woods and Forests seemed virtually closed at twelve. It was found to be nodding to their fall. Behind them that to prolong a debate beyond that hour their brave and faithful followers--fortisque was of no advantage whatever. The pro. Gyas, fortisque Cloanthus—their brave and posed change would only be following the faithful followers successfully imitated the tendency of Parliamentary Practice. The conduct of their superiors. But why need difference might be that of an hour or he pursue the subject? In these matters tyo. But that hour or two after midnight the House seemed to have retained the more was now wasted on the mere externals of extravagant habits of the days of Pitt, business. It ought to be objected that the Fox, and Sheridan, The Crown had set change proposed would prematurely close them a better example, and the House a debate about to be adjourned. But, would do well to imitate it. His proposal even if a debate were adjourned over was only an approximation to a further reTuesday night, the adjournment itself form in this respect. He thought they was generally made before midnight. It would transact their business a great deal might be said that the rule might pre. better if they took part of the “ solid vent a debate already adjourned from day" for it ; in short, if their legislation coming to a close on the Tuesday night; were diurnal instead of nocturnal.. It but he thought there was reason would be more satisfactory both to the in this objection. If Members once knew public and their own consciences. But, that the debate must close at a certain in the meantime the slight alteration he hour, they would adapt their speeches proposed would be a relief to the House, to to the necessity of the case, and by ren- its officers, and, above all, to the Speaker, dering them shorter make them more on whom, when almost all others had resatisfactory to the House and to the tired, the remaining business fell, as the country. The rule might be considered residuary legatee of the labours of Paras somewhat encroaching on the freedom liament. of debate for independent Members ; but MR. LAURIE said, that he had much if an independent Member did not now pleasure in seconding the Motion, which bring on his Motion before twelve o'clock he thought one that the House would he had no chance of bringing it on do well to consider. He felt a great obat all, and he would scarcely be worse jection to long speeches at late hours of off than at present. He hoped no bon. the night. They must have all observed Member supposed that the House gained the wearisome appearance of those who time by its extraordinary late sitting ; sat up to daybreak in the course of the he believed that, on the contrary, they last Session. He had heard it said it caused a great loss of time. He could would be impossible to pass the Governas easily think that prodigality in money ment measures if the H were prevented matters was the same thing as economy, doing any business beyond “the witchas that prodigality of time was equivalent ing hour of night." Now he thought to a saving of time. At a certain hour that that was by no means a creditable they were all aware that all must yield state of things. He was asked the other to that inevitable and inexorable power, day to take the chair at a meeting of the the power of sleep. On it no argument, Early Closing Association ; but he felt he no eloquence could prevail. Dean Swift, could not consistently do so, as he bein his celebrated sermon on Eutychus fall- longed to a House that frequently sat up ing from the third loft, said that preaching to a late hour of the morning. He was of might confirm the penitent, or convert the opinion that if they limited their time of most hardened sinner, but it could have no business and shortened their speeches, and effect on the determined sleeper. If a fo- thus allow themselves and others to get to reigner entered the House during a debate bed soon after twelve o'clock, they would enjoy a much longer life, and render their / which might operate most inconvenilegislation more effective.
ently. Mr. LOCKE KING said, he was sorry
MR. W. WILLIAMS said, his objection to differ in opinion from the lion. Member was that the Motion did not go far enough. for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart) in his proposi. In his opinion it was more important to tion to curtail the very few hours that were apply its principle to Government nights as given to independent Members. The Go- well as to those on which independent vernment, in all probability, would not re- Members had the precedence. Hundreds fuse their assent to the proposition, as it of Bills were now passed between one and was one which did not materially affect two o'clock in the morning, when it was imthem. He thought if the hon. Gentleman possible that their defects could be properly would but extend the principle of his pro- corrected before they became law; the position to the other days of the week he consequence was that they all had to be thought it would be one of more equal jus- amended the next Session. tice ; he would find that the Government VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, he was would not consent so readily. Sleep was quite willing to do justice to the motives of as necessary to hon. Members on Monday the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart), and Friday nights as on Tuesday and Thurs- and he concurred in the general object of his day nights. He trusted that his hon. Motion-namely, that they should endeaFriend would not press his Motion to a vour to compress their debates within as division.
narrow limits as were compatible with the MR. WALPOLE said, he conceived that proper consideration and full discussion of the hon. Member opposite merely wished the subjects brought under their notice. He to call the attention of the House to what was sorry, however, that he could not he thought a very good regulation for agree to the terms of his proposition. In them to observe-namely, that they should the first place, it was very unadvisable all curtail their speeches as much as that the House should bind itself by selfpossible, to enable them to get to bed at a denying ordinances which were not absoreasonable time. The hon. Gentleman lutely necessary for the conduct of business. could scarcely be serious in imagining that Subjects of the utmost and most pressing it would be of any advantage to public importance frequently came under their business for them to lay down a fixed rule consideration, and the public service would binding them to close their proceedings on suffer if they were prevented, by a rule certain nights at a particular hour. It requiring them to close their proccedings was perfectly true that Tuesdays and at a fixed hour, from bringing those Thursdays were the only evenings on matters to an issue on the night on which which independent Members could bring their discussion commenced. Suppose an forward their Motions. It would not be important Motion to be brought on upon a quite reasonable for the Government, at Monday. It might often be impossible to least, to seek to abridge the opportunities' conclude the debate to which it gave rise which those hon. Gentlemen had of stating in one night, in which case it must be their views on any particular question. adjourned till Tuesday. It might happen Besides, the hon. Member might derive a to be of serious consequence to the public lesson on this point from what happened interests that it should be terminated on on Wednesdays, when the House at present Tuesday; but under the rule proposed by attempted to limit the hours of debate. It his hon. Friend, it would be quite easy for was found that any hon. Member then anybody resorting to the practice hinted at wishing to throw any Motion over had it by the right hon. Gentleman the Home in his power to effect that object by pro. Secretary to spin out the debate till twelve longing his speech till six o'clock, when a o'clock, when it must inevitably stand postponement must necessarily take place. adjourned to Thursday. The same course That circumstance weighed so strongly on might be pursued on Thursday, and the his own mind that he thought it would be debate would again have to be adjourned much wiser to rely upon the good under- till Friday. Great inconvenience might standing which prevailed in the House, as result from these frequent postponements, well as upon the good sense and good and he was, therefore, disposed to leave feeling of individual Members, for brin the House unfettered in dealing with ing the public business to an early close questions of public importance, according on these and all other evenings, than to their urgency. There was a general to adopt a stringent and unbending rule feeling among hon. Gentlemen in favour of VOL. CLII. (THIRD SERIES.]
closing their debates as early as practicable, tracts from the proceedings of the courtand it would, therefore, be much better to martial which sat at Meerut ; but these trust to the judgment of the House at the did not embrace all the information that moment in all such cases, than to tie its might have been given. He would call hands by an inflexible rule which, however the attention of the House to one passage well intended, would often work prejudi- of a letter from the Judge Advocate Gecially to the public service.
neral of the army, signed “ H. Young, MR. W. EWART, in reply, said, that the Lieutenant Colonel,” to the Military Seobjection with regard to speaking against cretary of the Chief Commissioner, in time existed now on other days as well as which it was stated that the Chief Comon Wednesdays. He would willingly cede missioner would have seen the erroneous his opinion to the noble Lord and other account of the mutiny at Meerut, which hon. Members who had spoken, but he had Colonel Sykes was said to have laid before quoted the opinion of the most experienced Parliament in August last ; that, coming person in the proceedings of that House, from such high authority, the statement the late Speaker, and sheltering himself would be received not only in England, under that authority, though with great but in India, as a correct version of what respect for the opposite opinions which had had occurred at Meerut, and that as it been expressed, he felt it to be right to would be some time before Colonel Sykes take the opinion of the House on the would have an opportunity of explaining Bubject.
the error into which he had been led by Question put.
some ignorant or designing individual, the The House divided:-Ayes 28: Noes effect would be most injurious, as it ap237: Majority 209.
peared as if an officer of the cavalry had en
deavoured to “ force the greased cartridges EAST INDIA (MEERUT).
on the men, and that the Commander in
Chief of the Army abetted him in so inPAPERS MOVED FOR.
sane a proceeding.” Now, he asked the COLONEL SYKES said, he rose to move House whether, in justice to himself, he for an Address for copies of the proceedings was not bound to answer such an accusaof the court-martial held at Meerut in April, tion, and above all, whether, when he 1857, on the eighty-five troopers of the 3rd found his informant a person of the Light Infantry, and of all correspondences highest honour and truth, who had been that had taken place relative thereto, and an eye-witness of what he had stated, also of the correspondence and other papers, recklessly and unjustifiably described as relating to the 36th Regiment Bengal “an ignorant or designing individual,” he Native Infantry having, at Umballah, ex- was not bound to come forward in his depelled from their caste those of their com- fence ? Possibly the House might find rades engaged in learning the Enfield rifle traces in some quarters of that aberration practice at the depôt of instruction at Um- to which Lieutenant Colonel Young had ballah. He regretted exceedingly that he alluded. If his Motion were agreed to, it was obliged to bring this personal question would be proved that a letter was written before the House, but he had no alter- by one of the officers of the 3rd cavalry native. He held in his hand a paper on at Meerut the night before the mutiny, this subject, which had been presented to to the commanding officer, explaining the the House. This paper was designated peculiar circumstances under which the “ Further Papers, 8 A, Insurrection East men were placed, and their alarm and disIndies,”and he had seen it in manuscript at trust, and urging him not to force the men the India House in the spring of last year, to disobey their officers. That document when it was shown him with an intima- had been kept back, and, contrary to the tion that it would be laid on the table of usual practice, the proceedings of the courtthe House. He then stated that if it was martial had never been sent home. The laid on the table he would be constrained papers in the bands of hon. Members only to move for further papers, as important contained selected statements, and from documents had been omitted. The idea of them the whole truth could not be known. laying it on the table of the House was He held in his hand a memorandum from then withdrawn, but it bad nevertheless good authority of what took place at the appeared during the recess. The paper neighbouring station of Umballah. Umcomprised some selections from the corres- ballah was a depôt for Enfield rifle practice, pondence that had taken place, and ex- and the greased cartridges were conse