HC Deb 09 March 1815 vol 30 cc0-85

On moving the second reading of this Bill,

Mr. William Dundas

observed, that a measure more important in its object and beneficial in its consequences, as relating to the administration of justice in Scotland, had never been introduced to the attention of that House. He was confident that nothing more was necessary to insure its support, than to state the purport of the present Bill. The blessings resulting to England by that invaluable mode of trial by jury, were well and accurately understood; every writer on the English constitution bad made it the constant theme of panegyric. All that Scotland now asked was to share that advantage, and he was therefore well assured, that to the general principle no opposition would be made in that House.

Mr. Abercrombie

could not suffer so important a measure to pass, without expressing his complete satisfaction, and his conviction of its beneficial consequences. If it had not excited much attention in that House, it was only because no individual doubted the propriety of the principle of a trial by jury; and he felt as- sured, that the silence with which it had passed would convey to Scotland the impression of every member within those walls, as to that most beneficial mode of administering justice.

The Bill was then read a second time, and ordered to be committed on Tuesday next. On the motion of Mr. Dundas, it was resolved that the House should, on Monday next, consider of the salaries of the judges and officers to be appointed under the Bill.

Mr. Horner

rose to express his great satisfaction at the introduction of the Bill. There was, however, a very important feature in it, which deserved mature consideration; he meant the discretion given to the court to order the trial. That was a privilege which ought to be viewed with the utmost jealousy; but as the Bill was merely experimental, and was not intended to be a permanent measure, he should not oppose it on that account. Other points might be discussed in the committee.

Mr. Dundas

was happy to find, that he should have the assistance of the hon. and learned gentleman.

Mr. Finlay

entirely acquiesced in the principle of the Bill.