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no business whatever would secure a large their presence was felt to be an advantage; attendance at that season of the year. He and he thought that too much had been (Lord Hutham) had, however, no desire made about the indulgence shown to them; to refuse the bon. and learned Gentleman which was nothing more than this: they (Mr. Collier) his “rule” on the ground were asked, the same as other Members, that he had failed to make out a case of when it would be convenient to them to surprise or of insufficient discussion; but the attend on Committees, and therefore were hon. and learned Member had brought for- not put on Committees when they were ward a third ground—namely, the absence about to proceed on circuit. When the Bill of members of the common-law bar on of last Session was introduced, he certainly circuit. Now, the principle involved on 'understood from some one on the Governthat ground was one against which he ment side that it would not be pressed if (Lord Hotham) thought the House was serious opposition was offered. Finding it bound to set its face. He was sure the in the paper he came up from circuit members of the learned profession would to oppose it; but it was postponed for the not forget the great indulgence shown to convenience of Government to another day; them when it is necessary for the fulfilment and when he came up again he found the of their professional duties. An hon. and clause had been passed. He strongly dislearned Gentleman never failed to receive approved of it, as opening a wide door to leave of absence to enable him to go on fraud. The practice of paying travelling circuit. Members of the learned profession expenses had been condemned on this were almost entirely excused from those ground by Lord Mansfield, and other aulaborious duties on Committees which other thorities. The real remedy was to bring Members of the House had to discharge. the polling places to the voters; for if they The House did not complain of that, be were too poor or apathetic to go to the poll cause it felt that the maintenance of the the Ilouse could not legislate for them. high feeling and education and standard of It had been well said by Mr. Justice Willes, the Bar was a matter of importance to the in the trial of Cooper v. Slade,” that, country; but he hoped the members of the
“ Whatever may be the better opinion as to the profession to which the hon. and learned justice of payments between candidate and voter, Member belonged would not make so bad it may well have been the intention of the Legisa return for the indulgence which they lature to prohibit them as very likely to engender always received from the House as to corrupt practices which would be the more danexpect, in addition to that indulgence, gerous from being plausible.” that the exertions of the House should He sincerely hoped that the Act would be be paralysed while they were attending repealed before a dissolution took place. to the duties of their profession, or that the expense that had been incurred already Parliament would reverse any decision at isolated elections was enormous—much come to whilst they were absent attending more than equal, in the case of each canto their private avocations. He had his didate, to a property qualification. own opinion on the question at issue ; but VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, he into that question he would not at pre- thought it right to bear his testimony to sent enter. He had, as one of the oldest the fact that the Bill of last Session was Members of that House, felt it necessary, very fully and fairly discussed, and that the as no other hon. Member had done so, to attendance of Members at the time was protest against the principle which the hon. what, under the fluctuating circumstances and learned Member had laid down in re- which governed attendances from day to spect of the absence of lawyers--one which day, night be considered a very fair avehe hoped would not receive the sanction of rage attendance. At the same time, he the other hon. and learned Members in would suggest to his hon. and learned that House.
Friend, the introducer of this Bill, that he MR. D. NICOLL said, the second divi- had gone out of his way to lay a ground sion on the Bill of last Session was taken which was quite unnecessary for the purafter one o'clock in the morning—an hour pose he had in view. He might have adat which, according to his experience, there mitted that the Bill bad had the fullest and never was a large attendance of Members. fairest discussion last year ; but that was
MR. MELLOR said, that Lord Hotham no reason why any Member who was of a had mistaken his hon. and learned Friend's different opinion should not call upon the remarks respecting the absence of lawyers. House to reconsider its decision.
It was There undoubtedly were occasions when not necessary, in order to bring an inportant matter under the consideration of cluded from exercising their franchise. the House in one Session, to show that the He quite agreed that they ought to mul. thing had not been fully discussed before; tiply polling places as far as possiblo on the contrary, they all know that the both in counties and in boroughs, so that most important questions which had come no man should be able to say that he could from time to time before the House had not get to the poll to give his vote. But been fully and fairly discussed in one Ses on all those matters there was much to sion, had been brought under considera- be said both ways; and hon. Members tion also in the succeeding one, and that must recollect that the creation of addimany had only been carried after repeated tional polling places would throw addidiscussions. He was one who had sup- tional expense on candidates for extra ported the Bill as it stood; and he owned clerks and the erection of booths.
He he had not heard in the course of the dis- feared that they would mislead themcussion anything that very much shook his selves if they supposed it possible to make belief that, on the whole, the course pur- a contested election au enjoyment free of sued by Parliament last year was the best. all expense. Like every other luxury it He could not bring bis mind to conceive must be paid for. Ile wished it to be that paying the expense of conveying a as cheap as possible. He had enjoyed voter to the poll was an act of bribery. it himself several times, but not so He really could not bring himself to be cheaply as he could wish. He thought lieve that a voter would give his vote that they would not promote the public merely for the sake of a five minutes' ride service by stigmatizing as bribery and in a cab, especially when he knew that corruption acts which in themselves were whoever he voted for would give him the innocent and blameless. He was quite same advantage. The hon. and learned disposed to give this Bill every consilerGentleman says, it is a quibble to attempt ation when it was brought in; but he to draw a distinction between paying a should be rather apprehensive of their voter's expenses and giving him the nuoney falling into one error in endeavouring to to pay it himself. But it seemed to him avoid another. Of this, however, he was that there was a very real and practical dis- perfectly sure, that every Member of the tinction between the two; and that was the House would be anxious to do his utsubject of the many discussions on the Bill most in support of any measure which
If it were permitted to give would really tend to the prevention of money to the voter, that would open the bribery and corruption. door to any amount of bribery ; because MR. COLLIER, in reply, said that in if, under the guise of giving him money remarking on the absence of lawyers, he to pay his travelling expenses, any money had merely meant to excuse himself for passed between the candidate and the not opposing the Bill of last Session. voter, it was impossible to prevent any This Bill would reduce the expenses of amount of bribery. And the reason why elections, and on that ground he claimed he thought the law a good one as it stood the support of the learned Serjeant (Mr. was, that it prohibited money from passing Serjeant Deasy). As to polling places, between the voter and the candidate, and he would merely give the Government only permitted the latter to pay the ex- the power to ascertain whether addipenses attendant on the conveyance of the tional polling places were necessary, and voter to the poll. It would be very difficult if so, to make the requisite Order in indeed to frame a measure which would Council. completely carry out the views of those Motion agreed to. who supported this proposition. Not only Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. must the candidate, but also his friends Collier and Mr. MELLOR. and supporters, be prohibited froin pro- Bill presented, and read 10. viding the means of conveyance ;
in short, they must enact that every voter
MANSLAUGHTER.-BAIL UPON COROshould find for himself the means of
NERS' INQUISITION. going to the poll. How far that would
LEAVE. be acceptable to constituents he could not take upon himself to say ; but the MR. ADAMS, in rising to ask for leave result would be, that a great many to introduce a Bill to enable Coroners in poor electors, who lived at a distance England and Wales to admit to Bail perfrom the places of polling, would be pre- sons charged with manslaughter, said, he
desired to remedy what was considered to introduction of the measure which he probe a great grievance connected with the posed, and he should therefore simply add administration of public justice. The Co- that it contained no provision dealing with roners' juries were quite incompetent to the somewhat complicated subject of Codecide what was manslaughter and what roners' fees, on which a Committee was was not. It often required great discri- then sitting, or the question of whether mination to draw the line, and it was a magistrates were in the habit or not of very common thing to hear Judges at as- interfering to so great an extent with those sizes tell the grand jury that the evidence officers in the discharge of their duties. against persons committed on Coroners' Motion agreed to. inquisitions was not sufficient to support the Bill to enable Coroners in England and charges on which they had been commit- Wales to admit to Bail persons charged ted. But at present, after the verdict had with the offence of Manslaughter, ordered. been found, Coroners had no power to ad- to be brought in by Mr. Adams, Mr. SMITH mit to bail persons charged with man- CHILD, and Mr. GARD. slaughter; and, consequently, persons were Bill presented, and read 1°. sometimes detained for five or six months in prison, waiting for the assize, who were TOLLS ON BRIDGES (METROPOLIS). immediately acquitted upon their trials, or
MOTION FOR ADDRESS. only sentenced to very light punishment. A poor man, committed under a Coroner's
MR. ALCOCK moved warrant, not having the means of applying “ That an humble Address be presented to Her to a Judge in London, must lie in prison, Majesty, praying that She will be graciously and even in the case of those of better pleased to direct that further Instructions be means, there was some imprisonment and consider the best means of abolishing Turnpike
given to the Royal Commissioners appointed to some expense. An act of manslaughter Tolls within six miles of Charing Cross, to the might be committed by some slight act of effect that they will also take into consideration negligence; as in a recent case, where a
the best means of abolishing the Tolls on the man employed in a mine omitted to place Bridges within the same area. properly a stage, and consequently a truck The hon. Member took occasion to state fell into the mine and unhappily killed a that the present moment, when the aboveman passing underneath. There was no mentioned Commissioners were sitting, was intention in that case, and it was impos- the most favourable time for dealing with sible for any man not a lawyer to say the subject of Tolls levied on Bridges in whether the negligence amounted to man- London, and dwelt upon the expediency, slaughter. In another case of a different for the convenience of the inhabitants of kind, where an epidemic prevailed in a vil- the metropolis, of having Waterloo, Southlage remote from medical aid, the clergy- wark, and Battersea Bridges thrown open man of the parish provided himself with free of charge to the public. powders prescribed for the disease by a MR. INGRAM seconded the Motion. book of competent authority. One of those Motion made, and Question proposed. powders was given to a child of weak frame, MR. WALPOLE said, that the Comwho subsequently died. Upon an inquest missioners on Turnpike Tolls were purthe medical inen admitted that in all pro- suing their investigation on the subject up bability the child would in any case have to the present time; that there remained died from the disease; but one of them said much matter in connection with it through he thought the death had been hastened which they had still to wade, and that if by the administration of the powder to a any additional labour were thrown upon child of delicate frame, The jury return them they would not be in a position ed a verdict of " Manslaughter," and the to issue their Report for a considerably Coroner was obliged to commit the clergy. longer period than would otherwise be the man to gaol, where he had to remain until case. He might add that there would be an application could be made to a Judge great difficulty in procuring the funds which in London for his admission to bail. When would be required to be raised in order the case caine on at the assizes the Judge that the abolition of turnpike tolls should said it was impossible to say that this act be effected, and he should, under those ciramounted to manslaughter, and the grand cumstances, suggest to his hon. Friend jury at once ignored the Bill. Now, whether it would not be desirable to allow under those circumstances, there could, he the Commissioners to proceed with the inthought, be no reasonable objection to the quiry which they were now engaged in pro
secuting, and to wait until he had seen nation of voters, which was sometimes their Report to ascertain whether the in- carried on to a great extent. As the law vestigation which he proposed in reference stood at present the presiding officer had to bridges would or would not be likely to no power of himself to put questions to the be attended with advantage. For his own person who came up to vote. His mouth part, he was perfectly alive to the incon- was absolutely closed unless he had two venience which, in more than one instance, burgesses to put him in motion. The Bill resulted to the inliabitants of the metro- provided for this by giving puwer to inflict polis from the maintenance of the tolls to an imprisonment of three months on the which the hon. Gentleman's Motion re person who personated a voter. He likelated, and should be very glad to find that wise proposed to extend the provisions of some reasonable remedy for that inconve- the Corrupt Practices Act to municipal nience could be provided. At the same elections, with a view to the prevention of time, he could not help thinking that his bribery. The penalty at present was too hon. Friend would act wisely in withdraw. severe, namely, a fine of £50 and disfraning his Motion for the present.
chisement, wbilst the remedy was too exMR. ALCOCK said, he would act upon pensive, for there was no power of giving the suggestion.
He proposed that the fine should Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
be 40s., and ihat the disfranchisement should be for two rounds only of municipal
elections. He knew of one case where MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS BILL.
£200 had been spent in bribing a
stituency consisting of only 432 voters. MR. CROSS, in moving the second There was also a new provision for apreading of this Bill, briefly explained its pointing a public prosecutor to carry on provisions. One of its objects was to pro- prosecutions at the request of two burgesses. vide for a more equal division of wards. That clause might create some laughing Since the passing of the Reform Act, some from its novelty; but he believed there were wards had greatly increased, whilst others good grounds for it, and he should be prehad scarcely increased at all. Such was pared to defend it in Committee. Since particularly the case with regard to out- he gave notice of the measure he received lying wards; and in one instance the num- communications from all parts of the ber of voters had increased from 488 to country, pointing out various parts of the 1053, and in another from 246 to 1487 ; Municipal Reform Act which required and he thought it was extremely desirable amendment, but he though it better to that a better apportionment of these num- contine his attention to a particular blot bers should be effected. The Bill also and to apply a remedy, than to open up the contained a provision for throwing the whole question of a general reforın of that costs on parties who made frivolous ob- act. jections. He knew a case where nearly MR. FOX said, that some Bill seemed to one-half of the constituency had been ob- be required on the subject. He rose for jected to for vexatious purposes. The the purpose of giving notice, that when the next object of the Bill was to simplify the Bill was in Committee he should move a mode of electing councillors. At present, clause for the abolition of the property although there was to be no contest, the qualification in the case of town councillors. candidates were put to inconvenience and MR. RIDLEY would give his vote for expense. They had to print voting papers, the second reading of the Bill, but there to hire clerks and committee rooms, be- were one or two points in it which would cause they did not know that a candidate require serious consideration.
He saw no might not start up in opposition at the last reason why the system of voting by papers moment, and it happened sometimes that should not be introduced, or why those who candidates were started for vexatious pur- personated voters should not be subjected poses. He provided against this by pro. to the same penalties as attached to perposing that, four days before the election, sons who were guilty of bribery. He the names of the persons to be nominated, doubted also whether it would be advisable and those of the persons nominating them, to commence in this Bill the institution of should be sent to the town clerk, who was a public prosecutor, cr whether it would be to have them posted on the Town-hall one expedient that the cost of those proceedday before the day of election. The next ings should be defrayed from the borough object of the Bill was to prevent the perso- fund. Ile would rather suggest that the two burgesses who should set the law in | by its introduction in a matter of such motion should be bound to find security comparatively trifling importance. He for the cost before the proceedings were mentioned these objections by way of
suiginstituted. This would be a necessary pro- gestion to his hon. Friend and not with tection to those who might otherwise be any view of prejudging the measure. subjected to vexatious annoyance.
The MR. WALPOLE considered this an imBill, on the whole, was considered by many portant measure. Many parts of it were as of even inore urgent importance than valuable; but there were other parts on the great subject of reform which would be which he wished to reserve his opinion at brought under the notice of the House next present, and therefore he hoped that the week, and he hoped hon. Members would hon. Member would not object to postpone pay earnest attention to its details.
the Committee on the Bill for a week or MR. W. EWART said, one object of ten days. the Bill was to increase the number of Bill read 2°, and committed for Wednes. wards, but he doubted whether sucb divi- day, 2nd March. sions in a borough were sound in principle
House adjourned at a er at all. Anciently, wards were adopted as
before Ten o'clock a matter of police, but now they were use. less divisions, and often enabled
persons to obtain an ascendancy which they could not obtain if the municipal elections extended over the whole borough. With regard to HOUSE OF COMMONS, the institution of a public prosecutor, he thought if that principle were adopted at
Wednesday, February 23, 1859. all it should be in the form of a general Mini'TES.] PUBLIC Bills. 1° Church Rates. measure, and that it should not be introduced as part of such a Bill as the present.
CHURCH RATES COMMUTATION BILL. MR. ADAMS said, he would have great pleasure in supporting the Bill; but he had
SECOND READING DEFERRED. an objection to the nomination of persons
Order for Second Reading read. to be elected as town councillors being re- MR. WALPOLE said, he would beg of stricted to a few days before the election. the hon. Gentleman to postpone the
second He thought there were many reasons why reading of this measure until the Governit should be in the power of candidates to ment Bill on the same subject came on, so come forward at the last moment. Besides, that the discussion upon all three Bills he thought some time was necessarily occu- might be taken together. pied in printing the voting papers and
MR. ALCOCK said, he was sorry
that distributing them. Reference had been he must decline to accede to the suggesmade also to the difficulty of finding and tion. His Bill was identical with one opening Committee Rooms. He should which he introduced last Session and which therefore object to the length of time made was read a first time, but he had never said necessary for nomination before the elec- a word with respect to it. He (Mr. Alcock) tion. He objected also to the proposal of was one of those who for years had voted referring questions of bribery to juries in for the abolition of church rates, and he County Courts. Juries in the County was still prepared to do so if there was Courts were only five in number, they any chance of such a measure passing ; must necessarily be selected from the lo- but as he thought that hopeless, he was of cality and therefore would be composed of | opinion that such a Bill as he now propersons who were necessarily partisans. posed, being purely voluntary and perHe suggested that it would be better, to missive, was desirable. The Bill held out decide such questions by information at no premium to Dissenters to increase their Quarter Sessions ; he would give an appeal, opposition to church rates, or any inducenot to the Recorder of the town, but to jus. ment to tenant farmers to agree to their tices of a neighbouring county. He ob- abolition. Nor was it open to many objected also to the nomination of a public jections which he thought applicable to the prosecutor by the town councillors on the plan of the right hon. Gentleman the Home same ground of the probability of a parti. Secretary. The chief objection he felt to san being appointed to the office. He the Government Bill was the nature of the should be sorry to see the great general machinery employed — the incumbent and question of a public prosecutor prejudiced the church wardens — whom the Govern- , VOL. CLII. (THIRD SERIES.)