Imatges de pÓgina

side of the street-at a rent of 300l. a year.

ought to discharge all the duties that were required. His opinion was, that the office of Lord Lieutenant should be abolished.

SIR JOHN YOUNG said, that the Encumbered Estates Court was very inconveniently situated. An inquiry had been made as to whether it could not be combined with the Four Courts, but no suitable building could be found. There was a public office which was available, but the cost of alterations, at the most moderate estimate, was 12,000l., and it was doubted whether so large an expenditure should be incurred for a Court which had only two years to run. For his own part, he hoped the Court would be continued by Act of Parliament, and, if so, he had no doubt a proper building would be provided for the Commissioners. But in the present state of the matter it would be premature to lay out a large sum to accommodate the Commissioners.

MR. VANCE said, that in consequence of the Court being so far from the general courts of law, a small and peculiar bar only attended it, and the suitors were deprived of the benefit of being able to choose from the entire bar and obtain the best professional assistance. As to the office of Lord Lieutenant, this was not the proper time for discussing the question of its continuance, but his opinion was, that a Secretary for Ireland would never have that weight and influence which attended the old time-honoured office of Lord Lieutenant.

MR. HUME said, that his hon. Friend (Mr. W. Williams) had not made it so much an objection of expense as a matter of policy when he suggested that the office of Lord Lieutenant for Ireland should be abolished. The question was, whether Ireland would not be better governed without a Lord Lieutenant than with one? He (Mr. Hume) had expected before this to see that office abolished. It had been condemned by large minorities in that House. Twenty-five years ago he moved its abolition, and he believed he should have carried it if he had not mixed up with the Motion other offices connected with the staff at Dublin. With regard to the location of the Encumbered Estates Court, the argument urged by the noble Lord (Lord Naas) for its continuance and removal to a more central spot, on the ground of its affording cheap and speedy justice, was a good argument for abolishing the other courts. And as it seemed desirable that the Secretary for Ireland should have something to do, let him bring in a Bill at once to put an end to the existing tedious, dilatory, and expensive system, and permanently establish the Encumbered Estates Court.

MR. M MAHON was of opinion that the Encumbered Estates Court was the most revolutionary tribunal which had been established during the present century. He did not think that its working was attended with practical advantage, and he certainly hoped that it would not become one of the permanent institutions of the country.

Vote agreed to.

The next Vote was 13,3701. for Works and repairs at Kingstown Harbour.

MR. J. WILSON acceded to the proposition of Mr. H. HERBERT to postpone this Vote.

LORD NAAS said, the general impression in Ireland was, that no one practised in the Encumbered Estates Court except a very select few among the bar, and so strong was the feeling against the inconvenient position of that Court, that last autumn a protest was signed by every barrister in Dublin against that Court being kept separate from the other law courts. The people of Ireland, having once tasted the sweets of a cheap and speedy mode of sale for encumbered estates, would require its continuance, whe-tother vested in the present Court of Commissioners or in any other court, so that it would be necessary to provide additional buildings, which should be accessible to the whole bar.

MR. F. SCULLY said, he considered it absurd that a court which had such powers conferred upon it, which had distributed millions of money, and had sold hundreds of thousands of acres, should transact its business in two small houses—one on each

Vote postponed.

The following Votes were then agreed

(11.) 83,076., Houses of Parliament. (12.) 29,5617., Law Charges.

(13.) 55,1467., Her Majesty's Treasury. MR. HUME asked whether any determination had been arrived at with respect to the changes which had been suggested in the mode of the admission of candidates to fill offices in the Civil Service?

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, that the Government had not come to any final decision upon the subject,

and, as he had previously intimated, as they did not think there was any prospect of being able to secure a fair discussion of it in Parliament this year, nothing would be done during the present Session, but they would resume the consideration of the question during the recess. Vote agreed to.

(14.) 27,5521., Home Department.

MR. HUME said, he would recommend that all the fees which were charged by the various departments of the Government in the course of transacting the public business should be abolished as soon as possible.

MR. APSLEY PELLATT said, he thought that independent Members of Parliament ought to have the right of consulting the counsel who received a salary of 2,000l. for drawing Bills for Parliament, with respect to the Bills they wished to introduce, as well as Members of the Government with respect to Government Bills.

MR. J. WILSON said, it would be utterly impossible to carry the hon. Member's proposal into effect without employing a number of counsel.

MR. WALPOLE said, he wished to put rather an important question to the noble Lord the Home Secretary with reference to the announcement which had been made by the noble Lord the Member for London, to the effect that a new Secretary of State for the War Department was to be appointed. The Committee would bear in mind that the different Secretaries of State exercised co-equal and co-ordinate powers with reference to the duties they had to discharge, except so far as those duties were conferred on them by Act of Parliament. He wished to ask whether any alteration was likely to be made with reference to the superintendence and management of the militia, which was now vested in the Secretary for the Home Department? He hoped there was no intention of depriving the Home Secretary of the management of the militia, as he believed that such a measure would be detrimental to the public service.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, he believed that his noble Friend (Lord John Russell), in the early part of the evening, had stated generally the intentions of the Government, but had declined at that moment to go into any details as to the intended arrangements. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would feel that it would be more fitting that all the details connected with those arrangements should

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

not be stated until they had been finally settled, and could be laid before the House by his noble Friend.

MR. HUME said, he must express a hope that some improvement would be made in the present system of the management of the militia.

Vote agreed to.

(15.) 72,3721., Foreign Department.

MR. BOWYER said, he wished to inquire what steps had been taken to render the department efficient, for the purpose of providing persons properly qualified to serve the country in the diplomatic service? In other countries there was a course of study pursued in the Foreign Department which provided a constant succession of public servants, and enabled them to discharge efficiently the duties which might be cast upon them. It was true that there were some great diplomatists in the service of this country, but in the subordinate departments there was no other country in the world so badly served, simply because no means whatever were taken to train persons in the knowledge which was absolutely necessary to enable them to perform the duties which might devolve upon them in the foreign service of the country. He believed that the clerks in the Foreign Office were chiefly occupied in the manual labour of copying letters, and were men totally uneducated.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, that the attention of his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had been directed towards providing an arrangement for the purpose of subjecting to some previous examination those persons who were to be appointed to diplomatic situations in the service of the country; but he did not believe that as yet anything had been decided upon the subject. The hon. and learned Gentleman imagined, he believed, that a system ought to be established by which persons employed in the Foreign Office should supply the vacancies in the diplomatic service abroad. Such a system, however, did not exist in the service of any country. Each had his separate duties, and it was essential, no doubt, that each should be properly qualified for the performance of those duties. It was a great mistake to suppose that the clerks in the Foreign Office had nothing to do but to copy papers. They had very important duties to perform, which required great activity of mind, great attainments, and great experience; and he must say that he be

MR. APSLEY PELLATT asked if there would be any objection to throw open the library at the Foreign Office to the public?

lieved there was no department of the the Foreign Office for a certain number of State in which there were persons better months in order to acquire that previous qualified than the clerks of the Foreign information to which the hon. Member Office for the performance of their very referred. arduous duties. He certainly had been greatly indebted to them for the valuable assistance which he had received from them during the time that he had been at the Foreign Office. With regard to our foreign diplomacy, of course, every man was at liberty to entertain his own opinion; but, without making any personal comparisons as to the particular ability or attainments of particular individuals, he would venture positively to assert that there was no Government in Europe that was better served by its diplomatic agents than the British Government both had been and now was. There was one obvious reason for this; and it was, that independently of the merit of individuals, every man in the British service knew that the way to recommend himself to the head of the department was to give a faithful and accurate account of what he saw, what he heard, and what he observed, and that, whether the account which he gave tallied or not with the previous wishes and opinions of the chief of his department, provided he fulfilled his duty faithfully and with intelligence, he would be sure to obtain praise and promotion; whereas in the service of some foreign countries, if a person represented anything in a manner not conformable with the views of his Government, he was more likely to obtain censure and removal than praise and promotion.

MR. BOWYER said, he must still contend that in the Foreign Department it was peculiarly necessary that there should be an examination of the persons employed, because no one could be found efficiently to serve the country without some knowledge, not only of the routine of the department, but of law and languages, which could only be obtained by a considerable amount of study. Though the Bill to reform the Civil Service had not yet come before Parliament, he thought that some regulation might be adopted in the Foreign Department which would ensure that there should always be a sufficient number of persons trained both in theoretical learning and in the practices which qualified men to serve the country in diplomatic offices.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, it was a rule long established that persons who were appointed as unpaid attachés on first entering the service must have attended at

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, the library at the Foreign Office consisted of a certain number of works connected with history and international law for the use of that department, and also of despatches written and received at the Foreign Office, which were at the end of each year bound into books and put aside on the shelves of the library. After a certain period, say ten or twelve years, these records were transferred to the State Paper Office, where they remained under the custody of the Keeper of the State Paper Office. Now, with regard to the library of the Foreign Office, if any one wished to see printed books there, or large blue books that were not to be found in the British Museum or any other library accessible to the public, they, of course, could be seen; but, with regard to many of those books, and the manuscripts of despatches sent and received, they were documents which of course from their nature could not be shown to everybody who might express a desire to read them.

Vote agreed to, as was also

(16.) 40,550l., Colonial Department. On the Vote of 68,6001. for the salaries and expenses of the Privy Council,

MR. G. BUTT said, that the clerk of the Council had in 1853 received a salary of 2,000l., but for the present year it was put down at 2,500l. If he was rightly informed, the gentleman who held the office had it by a grant in reversion, and he presumed the salary was then fixed. How, then, was it that this addition of 5001. had been made?

MR. CARDWELL said, the original salary was 2,500l. a year, but it was only 2,000l. during the time that the gentleman held another appointment, in connection, he believed, with the colony of Jamaica. On the giving up of that place the salary reverted to its original amount-namely, 2,500l.

Further explanation being required, Vote postponed.

The House resumed.

Order for Second Reading read.

MR. AGLIONBY, in moving the second

reading of this Bill, said that he had only recently heard that the measure would be received with any opposition, and he hoped that such opposition would be able to be removed by some slight alteration in the clauses. One objection was, that the Bill was not stringent enough, and another objection was, that it was too stringent, so, perhaps, it might be possible to steer clear of both of these objections by taking some middle course. With respect to the 9th clause, relative to clerks to justices in petty sessions not practising in their own courts, he begged to state that he meant no disrespect to those gentlemen in any way. The object of the Bill was, by allowing prisoners accused of minor offences to plead "Guilty" and receive their sentences at petty sessions in open court, to spare prosecutors and their witnesses the trouble and expense of attending at the assizes, and to rescue youthful offenders from the contamination to which they were exposed in the weeks and months which they were not unfrequently obliged to pass in gaol between their committal and their trial. All the objections which had been made to the Bill could, he thought, be dealt with in Committee, and he hoped, therefore, that the House would now give its assent to the second reading. Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

MR. COBBETT said he thought that, so far from the Bill being calculated to lessen the expenses of criminal prosecutions, it was very likely considerably to increase them. He quite agreed that the object of the Bill was a praiseworthy one, but he thought it might be carried into effect nearly as well under the existing law as by the Bill of the hon. Member. Great injustice, he believed, would be done to persons thus suddenly called on to plead before the magistrates, and, while the Bill would not shorten the time which youthful offenders would have to pass in gaol, it would have the effect of giving great offenders lesser punishments than they ought to receive. All that numerous class of offenders who, having been convicted once or twice before, stood in great dread of being sentenced to transportation or penal punishment, would be almost encouraged by this Bill to the commission of small offences during that season of the year when they could get no employment, knowing that if they pleaded "Guilty before the magistrates, they would only be

Mr. Aglionby


punished by a slight imprisonment. Then, again, nothing was more frequent than for mistakes to be made by justices and clerks of the peace in the offence for which they committed men; committals were often made out for larceny when the real offence was embezzlement or obtaining money under false pretences, and what an pleasant position a Judge would be placed in who found himself called on to sentence a man for an offence to which he had pleaded "Guilty," but which he had never committed. Another objection he entertained against the Bill was, that, as a prisoner after having pleaded had a right to retract his plea, it would be improper to compel a Judge to hold a man to the plea put in before the justices. The Bill would have the effect of giving facilities to crafty offenders of obtaining smaller punishments than their offences deserved. Ie agreed that it was desirable to have a mode of shortening the duration of punishment awarded to prisoners desirous of pleading "Guilty" to offences of a minor description, but the magistrates already possessed greater powers than they generally exercised in that respect. Upon the grounds he had already stated, he begged to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "Upon this day six months."

MR. ATHERTON said he should oppose the Bill on the ground that the Legislature would be dealing with the subject without due regard to the proper administration of justice. Although economy was a matter to which every attention should be paid, the fair and satisfactory administration of justice was an object of far greater importance than the saving of a few pounds. If the Bill were agreed to, there would be a danger of effecting a saving of expense to prosecutors at the risk of having haphazard sentences.

MR. J. G. PHILLIMORE hoped the House would agree to the second reading of this Bill, which was intended to remedy a great and serious evil.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, the Bill of the hon. Member professed to deal with that which required a remedy. There might be imperfections in the Bill, but they were capable, he considered, of being remedied in Committee. He therefore recommended the House to give the Bill a second reading.

MR. HENLEY said, he doubted whether the Bill would work, and whether it would be accompanied by such a saving of expense as the hon. Member (Mr. Aglionby) seemed to suppose.

MR. M MAHON thought that a great | field of battle, and that the noble Duke deal of injustice would be perpetrated had acceded to the advice of Mr. Guthrie, under the Bill for the sake of saving a gentleman of great ability, who had done money. everything in his power to carry out his judicious recommendations upon the subject. A corps had been established, and the necessary steps taken for attaching to that corps such implements as were necessary for the purpose of conveying wounded men from the field of battle in the manner that would afford the best chance of saving their lives, and he believed that everything had been done which the Government could do. He understood that the corps and its machinery were still at Woolwich; and as some anxiety had been felt in reference to the conveyance of that corps to the place where it ought to be stationed, the question he wished to put was, whether any such corps had been established, and whether any exertions were being made for the purpose of conveying that corps to its

MR. ROBERT PALMER said, as a chairman of quarter sessions, he had received numerous complaints of the number of cases sent to trial under the present system, and was glad to find that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Aglionby) had introduced a Bill which proceeded in the right direction. He did not altogether approve of all its provisions, but he thought such amendments might be made in Committee as would remove the objections which he entertained.

MR. AGLIONBY, in reply, said, the feeling was generally in favour of amend-destination? ing the Bill. He had listened with great attention to the various arguments, and he should endeavour, as far as he could, to meet the views of parties, while at the same time he hoped the most efficient parts of the Bill might be retained.

MR. CRAUFURD said, the improvement suggested in the present measure had been tried with great success in Scotland. Question put, That the word 'now stand part of the Question."


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THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE said, that the corps of which his noble Friend had spoken had now been established for the first time, and he had every reason to believe that the example of its establishment would be found worthy of imitation by other nations, and that it would be advantageous to our own country. He was happy to say that he thought he should be able to give a satisfactory answer to his noble Friend's question. The corps, being of an entirely novel character, both as regarded its machinery and as regarded the men who were to act in it, had not been organised in a single day, but the arrangements with respect to it had now been completed for some time, and a screwsteamer had been chartered for its conveyance, with a large quantity of stores, to the East. He understood that this vessel would start from this country in the course of the day after to-morrow.


THE EARL OF DERBY: I do not know whether the noble Duke answers the question of noble Friend in his capacity of Colonial Secretary or of Secretary of State for the War Department, and I think it is desirable that an explanation should be given to your Lordship's House at the earliest possible moment with respect to the important changes now supposed to be in the contemplation of the Government, in the creation of a new office of Secretary of State for the War Department, separate from those of the Secretary for the Colonies, and with respect to the arrangements which are to be adopted in consequence of those

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