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measure, and how did he meet those objections? By introducing something which on the face of it was most objectionable a clause giving power to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to authorise persons to enter upon such interference. Why, if the Secretary of State gave his signature to every deputation on behalf of the Madiai or other persecuted people in other countries-and there were persecutions of Roman Catholics in Sweden, as well as persecutions of Protestants in Italy-he would take the whole responsibility on himself, and immediately make the individuals whom he authorised the representatives of this country, and they would then stand in a totally different position to what they would otherwise have done. What would be the great convenience of that? When those persons stood in that authorised position, they would naturally bring the Government into difficulties, at the same time that they would lose much of their own individual influence. It was clear that they would make their communications more freely, and with less reserve, and with, perhaps, a better chance of a happy result, in their unauthorised capacity, than if they had obtained the formal sanction of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Instead of the Bill carrying out, as alleged, the law of nations, it actually violated that law. Another objection raised to the Bill, in which he perfectly concurred, related to communications between members of the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope of Rome. If the Romish religion was to be conducted in its full force in England, it was absolutely necessary to keep up a constant communication with that foreign Potentate. But the noble and learned Lord said he did not intend to interfere with that kind of communication; and, if so, he must make so large an exception as to render the Bill useless. He could not pretend to assert that the Bill would not apply to matters of religion connected with the Roman Catholics, because the religious and political element was so mixed up at Rome, that he (Lord Beaumont) defied any one to separate the two. If such a Bill as the present had been in operation some time ago, the noble and learned Lord himself would have been one of the greatest offenders, because he was honoured with a long interview with another Sovereign, who not only wore one but three crowns, and with whom he entered into a long conversation on all the VOL. CXXXIII. [THIRD SERIES.]
great questions of the day-education, Queen's colleges, and Heaven knows what else. That was no doubt an interview between a private individual and a foreign Potentate, from which great advantages were derived, that individual representing so large a portion of the legal body in this country; but if this Bill had been then in operation, he did not see how such an advantage could have been conferred on that Potentate.
THE EARL OF ABERDEEN said, that, although he had a great respect for the noble and learned Lord who had moved the second reading of this Bill, and should be most unwilling to vote against the second reading, he thought that the noble and learned Lord must perceive that objections so weighty and so numerous had been stated against his measure that it was quite impossible that it could pass without very great and extensive alterations. His noble and learned friend opposite (Lord Lyndhurst) had suggested that the Bill should be read a second time, and then that it be referred to a Select Committee, with the view to making such alterations in it as may be agreed upon. [Lord LYNDHURST said, it was not his suggestion; it was the noble and learned Lord who introduced the measure who made that proposition.] He should be excessively unwilling, for the respect he had for his noble and learned Friend (Lord Campbell), to object to the second reading; but, at the same time, he thought that the objections which had been taken to his measure were such as to raise difficulties in the way of removing the evils complained of, even if the Bill were referred to a Select Committee. If, however, his noble and learned Friend persevered in his wish to read the Bill a second time, upon the clear understanding that these alterations, so extensive and so fundamental, should be assented to before a Select Committee, he would not oppose the second reading. But if he might venture, without offence or without presumption, to recommend any course to his noble and learned Friend-seeing that the prospect of effecting his end was so small-he would recommend him not to persevere in the second reading of the Bill.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE joined in the recommendation of the withdrawal of the Bill. The noble and learned Lord who introduced it had mentioned a ridiculous instance, in which a deputation from the City of London, headed by the then Lord Mayor, went to the illustrious
Prince who was now the Emperor of the French; but he forgot to mention that, at the same time, there was a deputation to Paris for a very different object--the accomplishment of a vast design, which would be of the greatest use to the commerce of the whole world. He meant an effective passage across the Isthmus of Panama. That was a deputation, headed by Sir Charles Forbes and other remarkable men -men remarkable in skill, science, and industry-from this and other countries in Europe; but that deputation came distinctly under the present Bill, for the object of the parties was to apply for certain acts to be done by the French Government. He thought that no obstacle should he interposed to negotiations with, or representations to, foreign Governments for purposes of that description. The noble and learned Lord said he did not intend to impose any check on the liberty of the subject; but he had failed to show any single case of grievance which rendered the Bill necessary. Take the most recent case -Mr. Smith O'Brien's deputation to Lamartine. It was a deputation of a most mischievous nature unquestionably; but the only result of it was, to dispel the idea that Ireland could obtain any assistance from any respectable Government in France on behalf of such a dangerous project as was then contemplated.
State; but valuable time would be lost by such a delay, where immediate representation would be most necessary. He thought, besides, that an authorisation of that kind would somewhat commit the Government to the matter in discussion, and such a step ought to be avoided, and the consequence would be, that in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred the Secretary of State would refuse to interfere. At the next stage his noble and learned Friend might be able to suggest remedies for these difficulties. With respect to the objections urged by the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury), he was one of those who would rather see representations upon so delicate and exciting a matter as religion in the hands of the Government than in the hands of individuals. In dealing with matters so exciting and so delicate as those involving religious feeling, he thought it much more expedient to let them pass through the regular and constitutional channel.
LORD CAMPBELL agreed with his noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) that several noble Lords who had spoken on the subject of this Bill had not very studiously considered the phrases in which it was couched. The principle of the Bill was to prevent unauthorised communications between English subjects, who pretended to represent the English nation, or LORD BROUGHAM said, he was under a portion of it, with foreign Governments, the impression that many of their Lord- respecting political and national affairs. ships had not attended to the provisions of He wished to go no further than this; and, this Bill. Communication with a poten- if this principle were not carried out in tate, such as a conference of his noble and the Bill, he was perfectly willing to agree learned Friend with the Pope, did not to any alterations which should have that come under the operation of the measure. effect. The conference which he had had It was only when persons professed to re- with a foreign Potentate was perfectly inpresent persons or bodies of persons in this nocent. His noble Friend (Lord Beaucountry, and went as their representatives mont) was right in saying that he had had to a foreign Prince, that they came under a long conference with His Holiness the the provisions of the Bill. He would re- Pope. He did discuss with the Pope a commend his noble and learned Friend to number of political topics, and he most take into consideration the many difficul- certainly hoped with some success, because ties that had been started. It was quite he had convinced the Pope that he had certain that very considerable changes must been misinformed respecting what were be made in the Bill; for example, it would called the "Godless Colleges;" and that be necessary to provide that the owners of the Government had most anxiously proproperty should not be liable on account of vided in them for the integrity of the Rorepresentations to foreign Governments re- man Catholic faith, and for the morals and lative to property. The joint owners of a creed of the Roman Catholic pupils who vessel, for example, which might be seized were to be instructed there. He believed by the act of a foreign Government, ought that some good had arisen from that internot to be prevented from making any re-view; but was that an interference with presentations to such Government. It the Government? And would it have been might be said that they might write home affected by this Bill? Did he go to Rome and obtain the warrant of the Secretary of as a deputation from persons in England? The Marquess of Clanricarde
No; he went as a simple individual-as an | ask the right hon. Baronet the First Lord English traveller; nor was there a line or of the Admiralty, whether by the recent a word in the Bill that had a tendency to Orders in Council coals were prohibited as check such communications. A case such contraband of war, or otherwise, from being as that of the seizure of a vessel would conveyed by the vessels of the neutral not come under the Bill, because that was Powers into any port or place in the donot a "national affair." In the United minions of Russia, not being in a state of States law there was a provision which he blockade? had no objection to follow in its very words, SIR JAMES GRAHAM said, the questhat the Bill should not extend to the pri- tion was one of very great importance, vate concerns of the citizens of the United and, at the same time, of very great diffiStates. This Bill would be substantially culty. Coal was not included as contrathe same as the United States law, band of war in the terms of the Orders in both in title and in matter, and by a small Council, but instructions had been given alteration might be reduced to that to to Her Majesty's cruisers that coals should which his noble and learned Friend (Lord be treated as an article of doubtful chaLyndhurst) agreed. Their Lordships had racter. Their Lordships had racter. It was laid down by the rules of heard of the right which all individuals the code regulating the conduct of comwere said to have to interfere with the na-mercial transactions in time of war, that tional affairs of another country, and to represent any number of persons in this country in deputations, relative to the treatment by a foreign Government of its own subjects. He was alarmed when he heard such doctrines of interference laid down, because he thought they had a very dangerous tendency to disturb the peace of the world. He hoped their Lordships would agree to read the Bill a second time, and then refer it to a Select Committee, with the understanding that it should be so re-formed as to carry out the principle on which it had been based; and in this way his object would be attained, and the measure moulded into an entirely unobjec-it, tionable shape. He trusted their Lordships would deeline to say that nothing should be done to put a stop to the unauthorised communications complained of, and he hoped the Bill would not share the fate of so many which had been introduced this year, and had already come to an untimely end.
On Question, Resolved in the affirmative; Bill read 2a accordingly, and referred to a Select Committee.
House adjourned to Thursday next.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
MINUTES.] NEW WRIT.-For Hertford County,
2o Piers and Harbours (Scotland) (No. 2).
coal should be treated as an article of doubtful character, and in point of fact it had been so treated in the course of last war. He might illustrate the case of coal by that of hemp. It was possible that an article of a doubtful character might be intended for purposes of a commercial nature, in which case it was treated as an ordinary commercial article; it was possible also that it might be intended for purposes of war, in which case it was treated as contraband of war. The instructions, therefore, issued to Her Majesty's officers for their guidance were, to exercise a sound discretion in judging of
both as to the port of destination to which the article was being conveyed, and from any reasonable presumption they might entertain as to the use to which the commodity of coal was to be applied. If they should be satisfied, on looking both at the port of destination and the other grounds which might exist for judging as to its real character, that it was intended bona fide for commercial purposes, then they were not to touch it; but if, on the other hand, they should come to an opposite conclusion, then the article would be taken possession of, and dealt with in the Court of Admiralty as Statute and international law directed.
THE WAR WITH RUSSIA-GUNBOATS—
MR. KENNEDY said, he rose to inquire of the First Lord of the Admiralty whether both the Admirals in command of our fleets had not asked earnestly for gunboats; whether Admiral Napier had not asked for iron gunboats to meet those of the RusCAPTAIN SCOBELL said, he wished to sians, which were made by a house in
RIGHTS OF NEUTRALS-CONTRABAND
Liverpool; and whether the house of Scott Russell did not offer to provide in a few weeks the craft wanted; and had not the Admiralty refused to provide iron boats; had it not ordered wooden boats to be built and bought, which wooden boats would draw twelve feet of water, instead of five, like the iron boats; had the Government ascertained whether any gunboats had been, or were being built in the Finland Harbour of the Gulf of Bothnia, and, if so, what number, by the latest accounts; and had the Government taken the necessary steps to efficiently protect the British mercantile flag navigating the Gulf of Bothnia on the Swedish coast?
SIR JAMES GRAHAM said, he really hoped the House would pardon him if he exercised some discretion in answering these questions. He did not think it would be possible to conduct a war, if the Government were called upon to lay before the House the requisitions they might have received from the Admirals on foreign stations with respect to what was necessary for the forces. He was much less inclined to answer a question with regard to the propositions which might have been made by any particular house, and the reasons for which a certain contract had not been entered into. Certainly, the strength of Russia in gunboats in the Baltic was formidable, and Her Majesty's Ministers had taken every precaution that appeared to them to be necessary and expedient to meet that formidable force, and the commerce of Great Britain in the Gulf of Bothnia would be protected by adequate means.
WAYS AND MEANS-THE MALT TAX.
MR. BOUVERIE brought up the Report of the Committee of Ways and Means, and the first four Resolutions were put from the Chair.
MR. CRAUFURD said, he would beg to ask if this proceeding were merely formal, and if Members would have the opportunity of opposing the Resolutions hereafter. THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, there could not be the smallest doubt as to the meaning of the vote hon. Members were called upon to give. It was a vote simply to enable the revenue officers to act with full authority, and, therefore, to prevent any evasion of the intentions of the House, in case it should, on deliberate consideration, adopt the proposition of the Government. It had no effect whatever in committing the judgment of the House.
Four first Resolutions agreed to. On the fifth Resolution for the augmentation of the malt duty being read,
MR. E. BALL said, he begged permission, if he were not out of order, to offer a few observations which he hoped would have the effect of inducing the House at once to reject the proposition of Ministers.
MR. SPEAKER said, the hon. Member had better move an Amendment to strike out the Resolution regarding the malt tax, after all the Resolutions should have been read by the clerk.
This having been done,
MR. E. BALL again rose, and said he wished to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the House to a circumstance which had occurred in the course of the last Session.
MR. T. DUNCOMBE said, he rose to order. This was not a Government night, and, as he understood, the arrangement made last night was that this Report should now be brought up pro formá, not for the purpose of being discussed. Now, the hon. Gentleman opposite apparently meant to go into the whole question, and when malt was once begun, there was no knowing when or how it would end. He had a notice of Motion on the paper for this evening, but if this question were gone into he should have no chance of bringing it forward. The Government was bound to postpone this discussion, and the hon. Gentleman ought not to commence it.
MR. SPEAKER said, that the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire was perfectly in order. The House had determined yesterday that this Order of the Day should be read at half-past four o'clock; and the Order of the Day having been read, if the hon. Gentleman chose to take the sense of the House upon it, there was no doubt as to his being in order.
MR. T. DUNCOMBE said, that the House had consented that the Report should be brought up that evening upon the understanding that no discussion should take place upon it. It was a violation of good faith, therefore, upon the part of the Government, to permit that discussion to proceed.
MR. E. BALL said, he preferred taking the decision of Mr. Speaker rather than that of the hon. Member for Finsbury. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would, of course, recollect that for many years a conflict had been carried on upon the question of whether free trade should
the landed and mercantile classes. But this left 3,700,000l. still to be raised, and the right hon. Gentleman actually proposed to raise four-fifths of it, or
the spirit tax and the malt tax. This was a hardship which the agricultural interest of the country ought not to be called upon to submit to, and he had hoped, after the suffering through which they had passed, that they would not have been subjected to this great aggravation of their distresses.
He called upon the House not to allow so partial and unjust a system of taxation to be adopted. He knew that from a large portion the land could not expect to obtain justice; but he could not believe that the House would permit those who were engaged in the cultivation of the land to become permanently "hewers of wood and drawers of water." Under these circumstances, he begged, in order to meet the Resolution with a direct negative, to move as an Amendment, the omis sion of that portion of it that relates to malt.
be adopted by the country, or whether the system of protective duties should be continued. The House had come to a decision upon that subject, in which those Gentlemen who had supported protective | 2,900,000l., from the land by means of duties were defeated by a large majority, and those who were defeated then thought that it would be improper to dispute the opinion which had been expressed by the country and the House. Having been so defeated, he declared at once that he would not provoke the discussion further, that he bowed to the decision of the House, that he adopted free trade, and that he should honestly endeavour to carry out those principles. He appealed to the House whether he had not acted up to that declaration. Having come to that decision, however, and having submitted to an open competition with the foreigner, he contended that the agricultural interest had a right to expect that they should be kindly considered in future legislation, and that if there were any possibility of granting them relief it should be done. It was with great astonishment, therefore, that he had heard from the right hon. Gentleman that he intended to derive a considerable amount of the additional revenue of the country from an increase of 50 per cent upon the malt duties. He was astonished, because it seemed to be the opening of a subject which he had thought was settled, the ripping up of a question which had been terminated, and the fresh commencing of a party warfare which he had hoped every section of the country had agreed to close. It was scarcely wise either, at such a moment as the present, to arouse again a spirit of party warfare, and that House had certainly shown every disposition to assist the Government in carrying out their measures for the vigor ous prosecution of the war in which we were engaged. He must say that not only was the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman calculated to awaken a spirit of party contention, but that the hardship of raising four-fifths of the whole increased amount of taxation upon land was one which the House ought not to consent to have imposed upon the agricultural class. Of the 6,850,000l. additional which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to raise, he procured 3,150,000l. by doubling the income tax for the second half-year. He did not object to that. The income tax was a fair tax to pay; from it a legitimate revenue might be raised to carry on the war, and it pressed equally and fairly upon
MR. BENTINCK seconded the Amendment. He freely admitted that in the present condition of the country it was the duty of all sides of the House to do their utmost to support the Government in carrying on a war in which the honour and interests of the country were involved, and he must appeal to the Government whether hon. Members upon the Opposition side of the House had not given them every possible support and assistance? There was a certain limit, however, to the carrying out of the best principles; and when they saw a tax of this kind attempted to be imposed, so utterly at variance with all justice, he thought that they were bound to pause before they assented to such a proposition. He confessed he was not surprised at this proposition coming from the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, because it was very much in unison with the characteristics of all the financial measures which had been brought in by the right hon. Gentleman and by those with whom he had acted since 1846. From the moment that they abandoned the party to which they had formerly belonged, and forfeited the pledges which they had made, they had in all their financial propositions evinced a degree of hostility which had amounted even to malignity towards that class to whom they were pledged, and whom they professed to support. He trusted, however, that there was