HC Deb 18 May 1830 vol 24 cc864-6

On the Motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Order of the Day was read for the House to resolve itself into a Committee to take into consideration the King's Message relative to the Administration of Justice.

On the Motion, "That the Speaker do leave the Chair,"

Mr. O'Connell

objected to proceeding with such important business at that late hour.

Mr. Brougham

deprecated delay. The House had been accustomed to sit much later.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that his Majesty's Message had been sent down to Parliament three weeks, and had not yet been taken into consideration. The proceeding then would be altogether preliminary. He must object to the practice of only devoting four hours every day to public business, as tending to create much mischief.

Mr. D. W. Harvey

complained that the House was proceeding with the measures to improve the Administration of Justice, and so many projects for this purpose were on foot, that he thought it was necessary first of all to take a general view of the subject. There was one part of the suggestion of the right hon. Secretary which he considered as very important, and might, perhaps, be unnecessary, if the Local Courts suggested by the hon. member for Winchelsea were to be established—he alluded to the increase in the number of judges. At present they did not know whether those Local Courts were to be dependent on Westminster Hall, or were to be each a fountain of justice in itself.

Mr. Brougham

said, that a part, and an essential part of his plan was, that Westminster Hall should remain the chief source of justice, and should control and revise the proceedings of the Local Courts.

A conversation of some length then ensued respecting the propriety of postponing the discussion on this Bill, until it could be brought forward at some hour when there was a probability of an account of the proceedings being made public.

Mr. O'Connell

declared that he would decidedly oppose further proceedings.

Mr. Benett

complained of the conduct of the hon. member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Portman), in forcing on the third reading of his bill for the Watching and Lighting of Parishes, last night. He, as well as many others, had gone home under the assurance from the hon. member for Dorsetshire that there was not the slightest chance of the bill being discussed, and he certainly thought he had good ground of complaint. Having said so much, he was not disposed to resist the present motion, at which every one was present, or ought to be present, who had any interest in the question.

The Attorney General

, having then stated that the business of the evening was merely formal, and that by agreeing to the clauses the House did not pledge itself to anything, but merely put the Bill into a fit state for future discussion—

Mr. O'Connell

withdrew his opposition, and the House went into a committee, Sir Alexander Grant in the chair.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved a Resolution, to the effect that his Majesty be enabled to grant a sum not exceeding 5,000l. a year, as a salary for each of the three additional judges to be appointed.

Mr. Hume

complained of the largeness of this salary in the present distressed state of the country, and expressed his regret that he had once been induced to grant so large a sum as 5,500l. a year, as a salary to the judges at present in office. He should move, as an amendment, that the sum be fixed at 4,000l.

It being suggested by an hon. Member that the amendment would be better introduced in a subsequent stage of the Bill,

Mr. O'Connell

said, it was extremely desirable that the retiring salary of the judges should more closely approach the full allowance, in order that there might be less apology for judges retaining their offices after they became unable to fill them with effect.

Mr. Hume

then postponed his opposition until the recommitment of the Bill, when he hoped to have the opinions of a larger number of the Members of the House.

The Resolution granting the sum of 5,000l.; and a further Resolution, granting the usual Superannuation Allowance, were agreed to.