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with regard to the improvement of the disproportioned, when compared with the criminal law had failed of their effect. In charges of former years. He found the proof of which he might mention the bill following charge in print :-"Last year for the better regulation of juries, which the expense incurred for witnesses to had lately come into operation. He knew attend Westminster, the Old Bailey, and it was objected to the measures which he Clerkenwell, sessions amounted to the sum should now have the honour to propose, of 2,3431., whereas, in the former year, that if they passed into law it would soon the
for witnesses was only 1,2971., be necessary to come down to parliament the expense this year being nearly double : with fresh laws to amend the new ones. so much for Mr. Peel's bill.” This stateHe had not heard, however, of any such ment, however, was as untrue as the inferresult from the act for the better adminis- ence attempted to be drawn from it was tration of justice which he introduced last unfair. The number of felonies tried at session. He was not aware that the act those sessions this year was five hundred giving power to magistrates to accept of and twenty one; and the year before, the bail in cases of doubtful felony had not number tried was four hundred and six, so been attended by good effects ; on the that there was only an increase of one contrary, he had heard it well spoken of, hundred and forty five cases; and those and he was, therefore, fortified by past were very aggravated cases, in which the experience in anticipating great practical prosecutors were of the lowest order, and good from the measures which he was were consequently obliged to be supported about to propose. He certainly had heard during the time occupied by the trials, in of objections to another of his bills, which, which they were called as witnesses ; and if founded in truth or justice, would lead after all, the sum which the court admitted him to disparage his own exertions. The for their expenses amounted to no more bill which he alluded to had passed last than 1451. So far was the expense from session, and its object was to facilitate the being doubled, that it was only the trifling course of justice, by providing that poor sum which he had just mentioned. persons, who were prosecutors in cases of He hoped that the statement into which misdemeanor, should be enabled to seek be had just entered would induce gentlejustice at the public expense. He was men to pause before they came to the connot prepared to contend, that the county clusion, that the alterations which he had rate should bear the whole of this burthen, made in the criminal laws had tended to but he thought it but just and proper that increase the expense of administering prosecutors who had not the means of them. There were some gentlemen, he obtaining justice themselves, should be believed, of opinion, that the law ought to enabled to do so at the expense of the remain as it now was, on account of the county in which they lived. It was said expense necessarily incurred in altering that, in the county of Surrey, an enormous it; whilst there were others, who entirely expense had been incurred, in consequence scouted the question of expense, and of the endeavours which had been used by thought that in his alterations of the law, the police to discover the perpetrators of he had by no means gone far enough. To an atrocious murder, which was still in the latter he would say, that he was not volved in mystery. The whole of the inclined to proceed hastily in experiments expense attending that occurrence was on legislation; and to the former, to those said to be the effect of his bill. But his he meant who complained of the expense, bill had nothing whatever to do with the he would observe, that, by adopting the expense incurred on that occasion; and course of devolving upon single individuals although he had paid money, on account the consideration of particular laws, instead of the transaction, from the Home-office, of devolving upon a commission of several yet not a farthing was drawn from the individuals the consideration of the whole
consequence of the existence of system of our criminal law, the whole that bill. To quote another instance of charge to which he had subjected the the spirit with which that bill had been country by his jury bill, and the other treated by some : It was said, that the bills which he had introduced in the five expense incurred by bringing up witnesses years during which he had acted as Secrefor prosecutions in the last sessions at tary of State, did not amount to more Westminster, the Old Bailey, and Clerk-than 1,2001. He declared upon his enwell, were enormous, and considerably honour, that he doubted whether so much
progress would have been made in the task without any practical inconvenience, than of consolidating the laws, or whether the by attempting too much at once in the labour already performed would have been shape of innovation, and by leading them performed half so well, by a commission away by splendid illusions of general imconsisting of individuals with salaries of provement. He would be content, if by 1,5001. a year, as it had been performed his humble efforts, a gradual reform could by the individuals who had assisted him be effected in our criminal law, without for a much slighter remuneration. One leading to any great practical inconveadvantage attending the quiet and steady nience: and he trusted that, so far from course which he had pursued was this dissatisfaction being excited by the atthat he had been able to procure the tempts of the House to accommodate assistance of the judges in the revision of ancient usages to the necessities of modern the bills which he had submitted to parlia- times, the attachment of the people to ment. They had given the most willing those usages would be increased, by their attention to the various new clauses which being convinced that the foundations of had been introduced into those bills by those usages were only widened to receive the learned gentleman who had prepared additional strength, and that it was wiser them : and he had received from them all to amend them where they were defective, the most valuable assistance, because he than to maintain them steadily because had not overburthened them with too many they were antiquated imperfections. He applications at once. Some gentlemen would now move, “ That leave be given to might think it an easy task to form a bring in a bill for consolidating and amend criminal code; but he would appeal to the ing the laws in England, relative to noble lord opposite (Althorp), who had Larceny, Burglary, and Robbery.” undertaken to consolidate the law upon Lord Althorp returned thanks to the one subject only, whether the difficulties right hon. Secretary, for the great proin detail of such a measure were not gress which he had already made in amendinfinitely greater than would appear at first ing the criminal code of the country. He sight to any person who was unacquainted agreed with the right hon. gentleman, with them.
that it was necessary to proceed cautiously He must also say, that he had another in the task which he had undertaken, inasmotive for proceeding gradually and slowly much as nothing was more dangerous than in this matter. It was necessary to carry inconsiderate legislation upon matters of a along with him all the instruments en criminal nature. He admitted, that the gaged in the administration of justice; for increasing amount of county rates for if too many changes were suddenly made some years past was a subject worthy the in the laws of daily and ordinary occur- serious consideration of every gentleman rence, and if what was declared law was who stood in the situation which he filled not executed well, no advantage would as a county member. The reason why result to the country. He was aware, the expenses of prosecutions at the quar
more splendid fame might be ter sessions was less than those at the asacquired by attaching his name to the sizes was, because the first underwent the introduction of a new code of law, as had revision of the magistrates who had to pay been done elsewhere; but greater advan- them. He trusted that the right hon. tage to the country would be gained by gentleman would consider whether some convincing the people, who were justly measure might not be devised to assimilate attached to their ancient institutions, that the scale of expenses at the assizes to that the circumstances which had given rise to used at the quarter sessions. He was them, were either altered or gone by; that fully convinced that the laws relative to they could be amended and improved ; malicious injury to property required and that the rust and impurity which they amendment; inasmuch as they had filled had acquired, by the lapse of time and our gaols with criminals for comparatively carelessness of legislation, could be removed trifling and insignificant offences. He without injuring their substance or impair- also thought that the laws relative to ing their strength. The House would poaching had been recently applied to confer greater benefits on the people by many cases which were not intended to be reconciling them to the improvements affected by them. Inconclusion, he intreated which it sanctioned, and by showing them the right hon. gentleman to accept his trithat those improvements could be made bute of applause for the benefit which he VOL. XVI.
had conferred upon the country, by bring- so many ardent prayers for its alteration ing these questions fairly under the con- and amendment–if he could now look sideration of parliament.
upon what had been done, and see the Sir George Chetwynd said, that having promise of still greater and more imfor many years been in the habit of su- portant reformations likely to be fulfilled, perintending the administration of the he would, indeed, exclaim, that he had not laws as a magistrate, he could but express lived in vain. If he saw seated in the his gratitude to the right hon. gentleman, chair of legal reformation, which it had not only for the improvements which he had been his ambition to fill, a gentleman so already introduced, but for those which he worthy to occupy his place, he would wilwas about to introduce into our criminal lingly resign into his hand, all the great jurisprudence.
plans he had formed for the benefit of Mr. Hobhouse said, that the present mankind-and the reformation of the was one of those occasions in which it was criminal code. That there must be jarring the duty of all those who felt strongly, to opinions upon changes of such magnitude, attempt to give utterance to the feelings every man would allow; but when the test under which they laboured. In all the had been applied—when it was seen that admirable address which the House had what had been done was done successfully, just heard from the lips of the right hon. and that the means were sufficient to the Secretary there was only one part to end when it was proved that the alterations which he was inclined tò make any excep- were as wisely conceived, as the mode of tion, and that was the part in which carrying them into effect was practically the right hon. gentleman had told them, beneficial, he could not but implore the that it was possible that by pursuing a dif- right hon. gentleman not to pause in his ferent course from that which he had fol- career, but, by pursuing the same wise, temlowed, a more splendid fame might have perate, and vigilant, course, consummate been acquired. Upon that point alone, the glorious work which he had undertaken. he begged leave to express his dissent. It had often been his unfortunate duty to The right hon. gentleman was mistaken. convey to the House the sentiments of his A more slpendid fame than that which he constituents, when they were not in aphad already earned could not be acquired, proval of the conduct pursued by the right and the right hon. gentleman must have hon. gentleman and his colleagues : he, seen the earnest of that fame, which he therefore, thought it a happiness to have would enjoy to the latest posterity, in the to convey to the right hon. gentleman the applauses which he had already received sentiments of the same body, when they from men of all parties in the country- were loudly expressed in his favour. What applauses which stamped on his exertions he was going to mention was, perhaps, a reputation, which no future act of the hardly worth the right hon. gentleman's right hon. gentleman would be able to de- notice, still he trusted that the right stroy (cheers). The right hon. gentleman hon. gentleman would not despise it. It had to deal with a subject which many was a custom in the city which he had great and good men, who had gone before the honour to represent, for the conhim, had attempted, but in vain, to remedy. stituent body to have an anniversary Those who preceded the right hon. gen. meeting with their representatives ; in tleman had, however, only the will. For which the constituent body communicated tunately for himself, and fortunately for to those representatives the sentiments on his country, the right hon. gentleman had which they thought that their representalikewise the power; and, with the power tives ought to act, and which were held and the will combined, it was impossible up to them as worthy of admiration. He that he should not, if he lived, see the best hoped the right hon. gentleman would not results emanate out of his exertions. If think that he was obtruding an improper one of the persons to whom he alluded fact upon his attention, when he told him if one of those great minds, who had that, upon every such recent anniversary, formed plans for the good of mankind—if his name had been held up as among those the man who once represented his consti- which were considered to be ranked with tuents in that House, and held the seat the benefactors of their country. He saw which he now so unworthily held—if sir the chancellor of the Exchequer smile: he Samuel Romilly, who had so often regretted could not help it—there were certain prethe state of the criminal law, and breathed | judices to be overcome. On many ques
tions the right hon. Secretary had pursued a Mr. Batley returned his thanks to the course which was not very congenial to the right hon. gentleman for the admirable feelings of the electors of Westminster; but, speech which he had that evening delivered. on this subject, they only saw in him a re- He was quite convinced that the compreformer of great abuses, and a man who hensive plans disclosed in that speech was doing all he could to benefit his coun- would have the effect of diminishing the try. He owed the House an apology for amount of capital punishment. He would introducing this matter into the discussion : not trouble the House further than by but he trusted that, insignificant as it saying, that the right hon. gentleman had might appear to some members, it would achieved for himself a permanent fame, encourage the right hon. Secretary not to and that his exertions were calculated to delay in his praise-worthy career. He produce the most salutary results on the
. anticipated for the right hon. gentleman a morals of society. more splendid fame than the modesty of Mr. Secretary Peel said, he should be the right hon. gentleman would permit guilty of great injustice to the House, if him to anticipate for himself. He had he did not briefly express the gratitude laid the basis for being a great man, by which he felt for the general support which showing himself to be a good one (Cheers). his proposed measures had received. It
Mr. Sykes objected to the power given was most gratifying to him to observe a by certain bills to convict offenders by complete oblivion of all party and personal summary process before one magistrate. feeling, when the object before the House As a magistrate he did not like the respon- was an endeavour to effect á great public sibility thus thrown upon him; and, as benefit. Such a support was the most a man, he would prefer that the convic-honourable testimony that could be borne tion should take place before two magis- to the utility of his efforts, and the uptrates. In all attempts to improve the rightness of his intentions. He would not, criminal justice of the country, attention on the present occasion, make any obshould be paid to the county rates, which servations on the subject which had been were now increasing, in all parts of the alluded to by an hon. gentleman opposite ; country, to an alarming extent. Indeed, he meant the melancholy increase of crime. in one place with which he was acquainted, He had, however, caused comparative the county rates were greater in amount tables to be drawn up, and he was sorry than the poor-rates were thirty years ago. to observe, but he owed it to justice to In conclusion, he applauded the right hon. declare, that the comparison of the present Secretary for proceeding, step by step, in with former periods was not satisfactory. his attemptsto amend the criminal jurispru- Perhaps, however, the overgrown amount dence of his country,
of the population might be adduced as one Mr. Cripps said, that it was unnecessary of the reasons which produced that unfor him to offer more than one word on favourable result. That, however, this the excellence of the measures which had subject had not escaped his attention, and been proposed by the right hon. Secretary. that he meant to endeavour to apply some The improvements which he had already remedy for the evil, must be obvious to made in our criminal law were above all the hon. gentleman, as he had given notice praise; as were also those which he had of a motion for an inquiry into the state now suggested. In reply to the observa- of the police within ten miles of the metions of the hon. member for Hull, on the tropolis. When that motion came forimpropriety of giving one magistrate á sum- ward, the whole question could be dismary power of conviction, he observed, cussed. that it was necessary that one magistrate Leave was given to bring in the several should have that power, as there were bills. many parts of the country in which it would be extremely difficult, if not impos
HOUSE OF LORDS. sible, to get two magistrates. The increase in the county rates was occasioned by two
Friday, February 23. causes very dissimilar—the increase of CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION.) Viscount crime, of road-making and bridge-making Lorton rose to present a petition from the throughout the country. He was extremely Protestant Inhabitants of the county of glad that the subject had attracted the Sligo, against granting any further conDotice of the right hon. Secretary,
cessions to the Catholics; and in present
ing it, he begged to say a few words on the their skulking places. The priests were subject matter of the Petition. He wished so exasperated by the progress which the to see an emancipation in Ireland—he was reformation was making in Ireland, that an advocate for emancipation—but it was their rage knew no bounds. His lordship the emancipation of the Protestants, not here referred to an extract of a speech the emancipation of those who urged their alleged to have been delivered by a Catholic claims in a manner hostile to the consti- priest, in consequence of a bible meeting. tution of the country. He could assure The extract concluded with these words their lordships, that the Protestants were “ Blood has been shed in France, in Spain, persecuted and proscribed in Ireland, and and in Italy, and why shall not Ireland would be forced out of the country or an- assert her rights ?” Here was a sample of nihilated, if they were not protected. the spirit by which the Irish priesthood There was a Roman Catholic parliament were influenced. This language was utsitting at Dublin, which had been more tered on the 18th of June, in the chapel of outrageous since an act of parliament had Roscommon, immediately on the eve of the been passed to put it down. The Catholic election. He maintained, that it would Association continued its meetings, and be of the greatest benefit, both to Protestwas more mischievous than ever. At first, ants and Catholics, to free them from the the higher orders stood aloof; but after furious bigotry of men who would, if they the Catholic clergy gave it their coun- had the power, crush the bodies of the tenance, it was joined by all ranks, from former, upon the same principle that they the highest to the lowest, and all the now kept the minds of the latter in gross members were as zealous in the cause as ignorance. Besides the petition which he the first furious demagogues. Such was should now present, he had also petitions the
power of the Pope in Ireland over the to lay before their lordships, from the minds of those who were members of his bishops and clergy of the dioceses of Elphin, church, that not only were the most bitter Kilalla, and Clogher, and two petitions denunciations uttered against every thing from the county of Monaghan. Before Protestant, against the established Church, he sat down, he would read a passage from and institutions of the country, but even a letter addressed to a noble friend of his the Protestant gentry were held forth to by that notable Jesuit, who wrote under the infuriated peasants as fit subjects for the signature of I. K. L. (Dr. Doyle). The assassination. Their lordships must be following was the language of a man whose well acquainted with the Philippics deli- influence was paramount with the Cathovered by O'Connell and Sheil, the latter lics :-“ I think the church establishment of whom had, in the most dastardly manner, must fall sooner or later ; its merits in attacked his royal highness, the late com- Ireland are too well known—it has been mander-in-chief, at the very moment that brought to the light, and its works being he was on his death-bed. The speeches of such as do not bear the light, it will, it these and other demagogues had excited must, suffer loss as soon as an impartial the peasants to such a pitch of fury, that judgment can be passed upon it. Clamour, a rebellion was apprehended; and, should bigotry, enthusiasm, and a spirit of selfishit break out, he hoped that the most promptness, constitute its present chief support. measures would be taken to prevent the It derives no aid from reason, justice, or Catholic leaders from leaving Ireland. public utility. Its old connection with They ought not to be suffered to escape the Crown, and that aversion to experiwith impunity, after they had set the mental innovation, which characterizes country in a blaze. Sheil had stated, in every wise government, unite to defend it; one of his speeches, that Ireland might but, if the passions of the people were easily be invaded by means of steam: but calmed, some man with the spirit and power he would contend that this new discovery of Burke, who arranged that chaos, the afforded the best protection against sudden Civil List,' and purified, without injuring surprise on the part of a foreign enemy, them, the revenues and prerogatives of the and that one British company could furnish Crown itself--some such man would arise more steam-vessels than were to be found and free the nation from the reproach of in all Europe besides. The Popish dema- the Irish temporal establishment; he gogues were playing the game of brag, and would relieve religion from an incubus, if they were resolutely met, they would, and the land of the country, with its prolike all other bullies, very soon retire into | prietors and cultivators, from an intolerable