HC Deb 24 May 1830 vol 24 cc1031-60
Sir Robert Peel

, adverting to the intended Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, for an instruction to the Committee on the Forgeries' Punishment Bill, wished to ask, what course the hon. and learned Gentleman meant to pursue. He suggested that it might be a preferable course simply to move an Amendment in the Committee.

Sir James Mackintosh

thought that it would be better to move an instruction to the Committee.

Mr. Speaker

said, that when instructions were given to a Committee, it was generally to do that which they would not have the power to do without those instructions; but the instruction which the hon. and learned Gentleman wished to move was, to do what the Committee had the power to do without such instruction, and therefore would restrain their power, as showing the prior judgment and opinion of the House.

Sir J. Mackintosh

bowed to the opinion of the Chair. The only object for which he wished to move an instruction to the Committee was, to give full and fair notice on that sole point on which any important difference was likely to occur. He would, however, relinquish that course, and would move an amendment as soon as the House should go into the Committee on the bill.

On the Motion of Sir R. Peel the House then went into a Committee upon the Forgery Bill.

On the reading of the clause, declaring that the Forgery of Exchequer Bills, Bank Notes, Orders for the Payment of Money, and other rejoicable securities, should be punished capitally,

Sir J. Mackintosh

said, that he should, according to the suggestion of the Speaker, proceed to act in that Committee as he should have done, with respect to the instruction he was about to move, in the House itself; and as there had yet been no full debate upon this great measure, he hoped the Committee would excuse him, if he considered himself in the same situation, now that they were in Committee, as he should have considered himself if he had brought on this discussion upon the motion for the second reading. In making the observations that occurred to him upon this subject, he should confine himself, as narrrowly as possible, within the limits of the question before the Committee? but at the same time he must declare, that it was impossible to consider that question, without considering the general principles of legislation, and especially those principles which were more peculiar to this important class of offences. It was needless for him to enter into the history of the various parliamentary controversies in which, since the time when that great man, Sir Samuel Romilly, first brought the subject under the notice of Parliament, they had often been engaged.—He could not compare—or, rather, he could not contrast—the temper and opinions of these two periods without a strong feeling of exultation, which he had no language adequate to convey as powerfully as he was affected by it to the House. He remembered reading of those times when the most ancient, the most barbarous punishments were resorted to without reprobation, and when even the lifeless remains of those who had been no worse than adventurers in the troubled sea of politics were exposed to the perpetration of every horrible indignity; when Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, and Wallace of Scotland, were insulted in this manner, because they had been noble enough to stand up bravely in defence of the liberties of their country. He recollected the time too when the most respectable men in the country, both as statesmen and as lawyers, were against that for which he now asked, and would have contended as boldly for the preservation of those old and barbarous modes of punishment, the worthless remnants of barbarous times, as for that of Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights. Yet, he was happy to say, he had lived to see the day when these opinions were changed, and when a Minister of the Crown came forward to state that he was desirous of mitigating the severity of capital punishment, as far as the general safety would permit. The object of all punishment was, to protect the life and property of all, at the expense of the least possible degree of suffering to any of the members of society. Such was the prevailing opinion of the men of the present day, and strongly did it contrast with the opposing temper of past periods. How different were the modes of thinking in the barbarous times of Edward 1st, when severity was universally adopted, and in these more civilised periods in which we saw Ministers and Statesmen asserting their title to glory by their disposition to assist in mitigating the old severity of the law. "Prisca, juvent alios; ego me nunc denique natum jactabor." It appeared to him as if he had lived, in the short compass of a life, through two different ages, opposite and contrasted in character. When he considered the small beginnings with which that intrepid, that wise, and magnanimous man, Sir Samuel Romilly, entered on his career of legal reform—and when he recollected that at the distance of between ten and twenty years from the death of that noble-minded man, the bar of the House was crowded with petitioners who entreated the House not to be satisfied with the propositions of a liberal and reforming Ministry, for that the people were ripe for better things, and were desirous of them—he almost thought that he lived in two different countries, and conversed with people who spoke two different languages. It was needless for him to express his gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman or his admiration of the conduct that right hon. Gentleman had pursued; he had achieved by his reforms, and by his plans for further reform, a title to fame, which no transient measure of political skill, however splendid or dazzling, could ever confer; he had placed his name among those law-givers who had reformed the Penal Code, and who had therefore been among the most signal benefactors of mankind. He bestowed not these praises grudgingly or reluctantly—they came from his heart, and he trusted they would be so considered. He now begged to call the attention of the Committee to that which was of such great importance in the petitions. He was well aware, from the twenty years' experience he had acquired in that House, that the words of petitions were not always so important as they sounded, but in the present case, there was no qualification, whether with regard to the character of the petitioners, or the station they occupied in society, that was wanting to give them a claim to the highest degree of importance. Their interest—their supposed interest—their long-believed interest—that which had long been their cherished and guarded interest and right, they now freely gave up—they begged it might be taken from them; and when they appeared at the bar of the House with such a request, he certainly did conceive that they came there under circumstances different from those of most other petitioners. He had had the honour of presenting the petition of the inhabitants of Edinburgh, signed by a large body of the clergy—of all the different sects of Protestants, and of the Professors of the University. There was a fact of considerable importance with respect to the meeting at which that petition was agreed to. A gentleman of high talent and character, and an old friend of his, Dr. Baird, the Principal of the University, was urged to take the chair at that meeting, and he declined to do so because the petition did not go far enough, as it did not pray for the abolition of the punishment of death in all cases but murder and murderous attempts. It was such a fact, connected too with the language of the petition, which showed that the House was behind the country—not the country behind the House, in the progress of extended and liberal notions on this subject. To the Edinburgh petition there were attached the names of seventeen out of eighteen Bankers in a city in which the principal trade was banking, and these petitioners, like all the rest, prayed the House to deliver them from the pretended protection—but the realdanger—of capital punishment. His hon. and learned friend and colleague, who was not then in his place, had presented the petition of 700 Bankers in England, who all urged the Parliament to deliver them from those laws against Forgery which, from their undue severity, palsied the arm of public justice, afforded security to the forger, and endangered the property of the honest man. There were three sorts of petitioners—he would not undervalue any one of them, but undoubtedly their petitions ought to be received differently. There were some who complained of grievances affecting only themselves; there were others who complained of matters in which they had a public interest; but there was a third class, whose petitions were entitled to the greatest weight, for they came forward to support a great public principle, apparently against their own immediate interest. The Bankers of Edinburgh, of Glasgow, and of all the towns of England, had respectively petitioned, and had complained of the continuance of that punishment, which, while it endangered their property, destroyed the facility and ease with which the law ought to be capable of being applied for their protection. The last kind of petitioners were those whom he now called to the bar of the House as witnesses in his behalf, and that Member of Parliament would be a most hardy man who should venture to dispute the evidence of 1,000 such men on such a subject. These persons must be the prosecutors and the witnesses, in accusations of forgery, and if they were not also jurors the jurors were taken from the class of men to which they belonged, and they must, be butter acquainted with the sentiments of jurors than any Members of the House. They told the House, as the result of their experience, that they believed that the present law was an encumbrance, not a protection. So odious was it to them, that they would not prosecute offenders, and yet it was to men of that class that the Government affected to say, "we know your interests better than you do yourselves." The Government was in error—it was blundering when it affected to say to such a body of men, that they claimed that which, if granted, would materially involve their security and endanger their property. The people were too humane for these laws, and if the Legislature did not determine to rebarbarize them, it must give way to the demanded reforms. Among the petitioners were three eminent bill-brokers, one of whom discounted it was said, twenty-two millions of negociable paper-money annually; and he understood, though he of course could not know the fact, except as he was informed of it, and did not therefore vouch for it, that if the three were taken together, they discounted fifty millions annually of negociable securities. It would be a waste of his voice and of their time to make any thing more than a bare allusion to such a fact. His proposition was only to return to the ancient system of our laws, which England only began to deviate from in the 18th century. At that time a false and exaggerated notion of the value of severity spread over Europe. The first change made in the law was with respect to the crime of Forgery. Whenever this country had been the object of severe or hostile remarks among the people of the continental nations, that fact had been selected against us as a proof that, as blinded worshippers of Mammon, we neither valued blood nor justice, but would sacrifice both without remorse to the preservation of our wealth. Such severity as ours was sought for in vain in the laws of France—in the laws of Holland—in the laws of Prussia—in the laws of any country or place in Europe, from Hamburgh to Naples, from the North to the South; in none of which had it been found necessary to cement the right of property by blood, or to secure negociable paper by a law of so barbarous a kind. The repeal of this law would be no novelty. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the law of France—he was mistaken in what he had said of it; the two cases in which forgery was there punishable with death were those of the forgery of the paper of the Treasury, stamped with its stamp, or of the negociable paper issued by the authority of the government. From a return made in the year 1828, it appeared that there had been only two cases prosecuted to a capital conviction—they were cases in which the prisoners were accused of contrefa÷on des billets de Banque; so that, in those instances, the forgery was of paper, not merely permitted, but authorised by the Government. These were the only two cases of prosecution for that crime which had occurred between the period of promulgating the Code Napoleon and the year 1828. But even these were acquitted; so that, whatever was the letter of the law, it was never executed. Those acquittals could be imputed to nothing but a popular prejudice against the laws; for it was impossible to believe that the cases should have been wholly unsupported by proof. In looking over the French returns he found that there was but a small number of forgeries, and yet the punishment never exceeded hard labour for life. The crime was sometimes punished by imprisonment, and sometimes by imprisonment with hard labour for a number of years. France was a country that was not to be blotted out of the book of experience of mankind. We knew it better than any other foreign country, and though the negociable paper property of France was not as large as that of this country, yet it possessed a great and flourishing circulation, which it protected, without the effusion of blood, against those dangers which were supposed likely to fall upon this country if we made this projected experiment in the laws. In the penal code of France the forgery by a public officer, in his official duty, was punishable with hard labour for life—a circumstance which showed most strongly the nature of the code. That code was in force in Holland; and from Hamburgh to Naples there was not a single country in which paper-money was protected by the punishment of death, except the British dominions. The advocates of capital punishment were bound to show that the most important interests of society would be endangered by the alteration of the punishment; for, to show a mere inconvenience was not sufficient for the purpose. The burthen of proof did not lie on the men who argued for the abrogation of these laws, but on those who contended that the evil was so great, there were no other means of preventing it but by capital punishment. Unless that absolute necessity was proved, he contended that all other executions for the offence were, in the eye of morality and religion, positive murders. In the year 1826 there was a return of nine persons who had been sentenced to death in France. No favourable circumstances appeared in their various crimes, but they all had recourse to the Cour de Cassation in appeals upon technical difficulties. The delay thus occasioned afforded the opportunity of investigating their cases, and they were found innocent, and every one of them was pardoned on the avowed ground of their innocence, without any blame being attached to the judge, the jury, or the government. If, in such a country, and with such Judges as France possessed, these errors were committed, the knowledge of them ought to induce us to avoid inflicting those punishments which, whenever inflicted in error, did an irreparable wrong. A French gentleman, who had bestowed great attention on this subject, had said, that no one at Rome or Naples dare give any assistance to the execution of the laws, for such was public justice in those countries that it did not at all stand well with the public. Whatever tended to produce a schism between the execution of the laws and the feelings of the people did great injury. If equal punishment were inflicted on unequal crimes, gross, scandalous, flagrant, notorious injustice must be the consequence; and it must be a fault in every system of legislation, if it did not confine the highest penalty to the greatest delinquency. The punishment by imprisonment was divisible—different portions might be applied to different degrees of criminality; but there was no divisibility in the punishment of death. The feelings of the present age did not allow of the barbarous aggravations of death practised by our ancestors, and we hanged alike the sheep-stealer and the parricide. As long, then, as this system of equal visitation for unequal guilt continued, we were the authors of the most crying injustice. If our ancestors inflicted more than mere death by adding the cruelty of torture, at least they had the excuse that they thereby observed something like a scale of punishments. He thanked God that that barbarous custom was abolished, and since now it was impossible to inflict more than death for the greatest crimes, our only resource was to inflict less than death for offences of minor aggravation.—The various existing and authentic tables of crimes and punishments showed the difference between a sound and a degenerate administration of Criminal Law. During the last seven years only twenty- four persons had been executed for forgery, while the whole number of persons convicted of that crime was 217—so that every offender knew that, even after conviction, there were eight chances of escape to one of suffering. The result was widely different in cases of murder; in the last seven years there had been ninety-nine convictions, and no less than eighty-eight executions, indicating a perfectly sound state of jurisprudence; for the Crown had exercised its prerogative of mercy only in a few cases, which by their mitigating circumstances well deserved it. In France, with a population of thirty-one millions, in the year 1825 there had been 110 executions; of those ninety were for murder, or murderous offences, and twenty for all other crimes. This indicated a just execution of the law—an application of the last punishment to a class of offences that naturally required it, and to which it ought to be confined. The population of England and Wales, on the other hand, was twelve millions and a half, and in the year 1825 there were eleven criminals executed for murder and murderous offences, and thirty-nine for all other crimes; hence it was obvious that a great deal more blood was shed by the law in the defence of human property, than in the protection of human life. It was an ancient and venerable maxim of religion, and it ought to be so of law, "Whoso spilleth man's blood, by man shall his blood be spilled;" and this maxim was well observed in France. In England the proportion of persons charged with capital crime to the whole population was as 1 to 160,000, while in France it was as 1 to 450,000, so that France, with more than double our population, appeared to have only half our crime. What did he infer from that? It seemed to afford testimony against the morality of our lives, but it was, in fact, nothing but an impeachment of the wisdom of our law. It would require but little trouble and examination to establish that the difference between the two countries in this respect was owing to the difference in the administration of the law, and not to any difference in the disposition to criminality. Indeed he might state, that it had been proved that the people of this country did not deserve this stigma of comparatively greater criminality, and that its appearance only arose from our mischievous legislation having annexed the last punishment man could inflict to a much greater number of offences than was done by the legislature of France. The execution of the law, he must observe, had undergone some surprising revolutions; and Sir Matthew Hale made it a matter of boast, that in his time in England every judgment was executed; yet 150 years after the death of that great Judge, the multiplication of capital punishments had produced a directly opposite result; and England at this moment was distinguished from every other country of Europe by uncertainty in the administration of criminal justice. The effect had been, he was ashamed to say, to introduce into the kingdom a system at variance with the first principles of free government—he meant that none of the facts or circumstances on which the life or death of man depends, were ever known to the mere spectators of those public proceedings and solemn trials, which seemed to be decisive of his fate. The life or death of a man in the city of London depended upon the investigation of his conduct by a secret body, unknown to the public, unknown to the criminal, and who might be able, for any thing that could be shown to the contrary, to explain the very fact for which, unexplained, he was borne to execution. The first question to be asked was, is the primary punishment peculiarly adapted to the offence of Forgery? He put it to any man accustomed to watch the springs of human action, whether he was of opinion that the mere fear of death operated upon forgers? They were commonly persons of some education, holding a respectable station in society, and who, having got into difficulties by love of ostentation, and an indulgence in prodigality, were determined to make a bold throw in the game of life, and to risk all upon a single hazard—aut cito mors, aut victoria lœta. The sting of death was not the bare loss of life, but the circumstances of dishonour and disgrace attending it. Those who fought so bravely and so frequently in the last war had exposed their lives to greater danger than the most abandoned and reckless criminal, but they had marched into the field without reluctance, encouraged by a sense of duty, and incited by a love of their country's glory. The boldness with which the peril was incurred might be equal in both cases, though in the one it was the minister of crime, and in the other of the noblest virtue. It was a mistake of lawgivers and tyrants (who sometimes affected to be lawgivers), when they thought they deterred from crime merely by investing the punishment of death with terror. Martyrs and heroes had incurred the penalty, however dreadful it might have been rendered, for Heaven had fixed the bounds beyond which disgrace could not be inflicted. In contemplating the suffering, the mind turned with detestation from the author of the punishment, while it watched with pitying veneration the agonies of the sufferer. The philosophic criminal might even imagine that at least there was something dignified in dying well, and that part of the infamy of his punishment would be compensated by the firmness of his endurance. For these reasons he thought the punishment of death ill adapted to prevent the crime of Forgery; and it was to be recollected that it was not mere justice, but manifest, signal, and conspicuous justice, that was to satisfy the public. Hence it might be laid down as a maxim, with very few exceptions, that the acts for which the punishment of death should be applied, should not only be in the highest degree dangerous to society, but attended with circumstances of violence and blood, leaving a deep impression on the mind, and reviving indignation at the offender on the recollection of his crime. He did not mean to undervalue the guilt of Forgery, but he contended that, according to the general feeling of mankind, it was not that species of crime which, by subsequent reflection upon its circumstances, recalled a sense of the justice of the punishment. He now came to the proposition he intended to offer by way of Amendment. He proposed that Courts of Justice should have power to inflict imprisonment and hard labour for a term of not more than fourteen years, giving them also the power to inflict solitary confinement in cases absolutely requiring it: he would give Courts the power to transport the prisoner to any place, to be named by his Majesty and his Privy Council, beyond seas, for a term not exceeding fourteen years; and lastly, he would arm Courts, in cases of rare occurrence, requiring more than usual severity, with authority to inflict both punishments, the one to follow the other. He proposed these alternatives, in order that there might be many degrees of punishment, as there were many degrees of guilt; and as it was an experiment, he was desirous that it should be made in a manner best fitted to ensure success. Another amendment would be, that the power existing in Colonial governments, under certain circumstances, to remit the punishment, should be taken away in cases of Forgery, and that no sentence should be remitted but by the decision of the King in Council. It had been said, that if this experiment failed, a return to the old system would be impossible. But what did that assertion prove? If there were any foundation for it, it showed that such was the abhorrence now entertained of the infliction of capital punishment in cases of Forgery, after the experience of its inadequacy, that a future Parliament would find it impossible to re-introduce it. It might be said by the right hon. Baronet, that the time was not yet come when it would be fit to make so great a change; but he (Sir J. Mackintosh) would ask, in reply, where was the danger, if the House endeavoured to quicken the pace of Ministers upon this subject? The House of Commons, speaking the sense of the people of England, might very properly urge the members of the Cabinet to increased speed: and, although it was very possible that ere long Members would have to return to their constituents, they might very fairly urge, that if they had erred, it was in favour of the cause of humanity, and to prevent the commission of crime. The House would err in deference to the general testimony of all who were best acquainted with the subject, and who, in the petitions, had given the same evidence that they would have delivered upon oath. When the question was discussed in 1822, the case of the forgery of wills had made a great impression adverse to a change in the law; a return had been made of all the convictions since that year for the forgery of all instruments; it appeared that there were only ten cases of the kind, and was it worth while to preserve the severity of the law for their sake? Important changes of opinion upon this subject had already occurred. He recollected that when he (Sir J. Mackintosh) proposed, in 1821, to lessen the punishment for the forgery of marriage registers, it was vehemently opposed, on the ground that it opened the door to the fabrication of evidence of marriage, legitimacy, and the transmission of property; yet, only a short time since, the right hon. Baronet had reduced the crime to a misdemeanour, without opposition. The real question was, whether there was any great danger in endeavouring to ascertain by experiment whether this country could have its property protected without a considerably greater severity of punishment than was known in any other State of Europe? Even if his Amendment should be adopted, the punishment for the crime of Forgery would be more severe than it was at present upon the Continent. He thought that there would be no such danger, and therefore he should conclude by moving, as an Amendment upon the original Motion, to leave out the words "suffer death" for the crime of Forgery, and to insert in lieu thereof, "transportation beyond the seas, for life, or for fourteen years, or seven years, or im- prisonment and hard labour, or solitary confinement, as to the Court may seem proper."

On the question being put,

Sir Robert Peel

rose and said, that if he had expected, when he came into the House that evening, to find the question of forgery treated as a party question, and as one by which the fate of a Ministry might be decided, such an impression would have been removed by the great, not to say lavish, encomiums bestowed on his humble exertions by the right hon. Gentleman. But he entered the House with no such impression, knowing, and he rejoiced at it, that the time was at length come when they could consider all the questions connected with the criminal law of the country, as no party questions, nor be liable in discussing them to have their attention diverted from the sound reasons which ought to determine their conduct, and from the interests of those classes for which they were called on to legislate. He wished to defer to the views of the right hon. Gentleman and the great body of the petitioners; and if he had been compelled to adopt a conclusion different from theirs, he could assure them that it was after deliberate consideration that he had attained to the honest conclusion, that it would be better to preserve the punishment of death for forgery than abandon it. He had no motives to make him wish to differ from them, and he had no previously-formed theories which he was anxious to support. From the right hon. Gentleman's general doctrines respecting the punishment of death he did not dissent; but he wished to state his opinion, with the reasons and the facts on which it had been formed, on the question whether the punishment of death ought to be preserved or abandoned. There were no reasons, that he knew of, nor any circumstances in his situation, why he should not be ready to adopt the views of the right hon. Gentleman. By the bill which he had introduced into the House he proposed to meliorate one part of our criminal code, and his course had uniformly been towards the mitigation of its severity. When he came into office, seven years before the present period, the criminal law of Great Britain exceeded in severity the criminal codes of every other part of Europe, and he had then thought it ought to be meliorated. He made it, since he had been in office, the great object of his ambition, not to set the example of meliorating this code, but to follow the example previously set by others. He had found, however, that the habits and usages of the country were adapted to and formed on the severity of our code, and he found it necessary to proceed in the mitigation of this severity with great caution. He thought it advantageous to continue the severity of the law in its letter, but gradually to meliorate its practical application. The bills he had introduced into Parliament, consolidating the criminal laws, had, in part, abandoned capital punishment; but he looked forward to a time when the criminal law, after the consolidation of its different parts had been carried into effect, should be again brought under consideration. When that was the case, the House might, with propriety, take the question into consideration, whether further mitigation of its severity should not be attempted. In his views he had adopted the recommendation of the committee over which the right hon. Gentleman had presided, and had endeavoured first to simplify the law, with a view to its mitigation afterwards. What he had done to consolidate the law was not to prevent the whole subject being hereafter brought under review; and when the simplification was complete, a further mitigation of its severity might be found expedient. If he resisted, at that time, the proposition to abolish the punishment of death for forgery, he must appeal to the course he had pursued, and to the practical application he had made of the law, to show that he was not attached to that punishment. He had not contented himself with a bare expression of his opinion on this point; he had, by the advice he had given to the Crown, carried those opinions into active operation. He found that in the seven years previous to 1822, when he came into office, the number of executions, in England and Wales, was 731, while the number of executions since 1822—that is up to December, 1829—was 433, showing a considerable diminution. The number of executions in London and Middlesex in the former seven years, was 192; in the latter seven years, or during the period that he had been in office, it was 120, showing a diminution of seventy-two. He was afraid that this diminution could not be laid to the account of the diminution of capital offences, as they had been rather on the increase. Perhaps, indeed, the mitigation of the severity of the laws might have encouraged and facilitated prosecutions, and so more capital crimes had been prosecuted, but he did not believe that the diminution of executions could be accounted for by the diminution of capital offences. He thought that the House, when it took the subject into its serious consideration, would pause before it gave its consent to abolish the punishment of death for forgery; and he wished first to state the reasons, and afterwards the facts, which ought to be well weighed by hon. Members before they consented to abolish the capital punishment for this crime. With respect to the crime itself, there were many reasons, such as the magnitude of the gain which might be acquired—the facility of committing the crime, the difficulty of detection, and the temptation to commit it, which marked it with peculiar characteristics, and made it deserving of especial consideration. As an illustration of the magnitude of the sums to be obtained, he would refer to the case of Fauntleroy, the amount of whose forgeries was not less than 353,000l. The Bank of England was answerable for forgeries committed by this individual through a series of years, and actually paid a sum of 353,000l. Looking to the temptation, he would observe, that it came across a man overwhelmed with distress, who, by the mere presenting a draft at a banker's, might be relieved from his difficulties, and find himself suddenly in the midst of prosperity; and then, if he did succeed, there was the difficulty of detection. In this crime there were none of those revolting circumstances which alarmed mankind. There was no confederacy necessary. The criminal did not need to disclose his guilt to any particeps criminis; there was, consequently, an extreme difficulty of detection—the draft was paid by a banker's clerk, who might, perhaps, be induced, in a case of need, to cancel it or to deliver it up. Then the signature might be so well imitated, that no precaution could detect the forgery at the moment. No vigilance, therefore, could guard against it; and when it was once committed there might be no remedy. No receiver, too, was necessary, as in the case of many other crimes; and the property, when once obtained, could not be made evidence against the criminal. But even the crime itself might be committed by an innocent man, and a man ignorant that he was committing a crime, A man presented a draft at a banker's; it was paid, in the hurry of business, over a crowded desk; the person who presented it might not be the forger, but somebody whom he had employed. The real guilty party might escape, if the stake were large enough, to the continent; he might leave the country; but even if he did not do that, the difficulty of detection was very great. It depended obviously on a question of personal identity. The clerk who paid the draft must, in the first instance, recognize the man who presented it; and if he were only some ignorant and innocent agent, he must find out and identify his employer. Thus, it was a question of double identity; and that must be decided, before the guilt could be brought home to any person. When he recollected, therefore, the magnitude of the gain—the great temptation—the difficulty of the detection, that there were no confederates necessary, and no violence to alarm people, as in a burglary or murder; coupling all these circumstances with the large properties concerned, he thought they invested this crime with a peculiar and exclusive character—a character which belonged to no other species of crime against which the Legislature had to guard. Before the House resolved to abolish the punishment of death, the Members should be well convinced that they could find a more efficacious punishment, such as that recommended by the right hon. Gentleman. The House before it came to such a Resolution, would pause, and it would deliberate long before it adopted the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman. He did not by any means undervalue the public sympathy in giving force to laws, or rendering them nugatory; he adverted with all due respect to the opinions of the petitioners, but he did not find them conclusive against his view. The petitioners, generally speaking, were not the persons most interested in the question, though, if he looked only at individual interest, he must be silent. If a regard to that were all the arguments he could urge, he must abandon the defence of the law—but if it could be made out that the apprehension of the punishment of death prevented the commission of the crime—if public morals were protected by the fear of this punishment—if without that punishment there would be a great increase of the offence—if these things could all be made out, then there would be very strong, and, indeed, very powerful reasons for maintaining the punishment. If it could be shown that the fear of death did operate to prevent the commission of the crime of Forgery, and if property were defended by it—which was not immaterial—he conceived that they would not be justified in abolishing it. If he could also show, that those who petitioned against it were not the parties most interested, he thought the House would have good reasons for withholding its assent to the prayer of their petitions. The chief petitioners in favour of the measure most interested in it were the country and provincial bankers, but the direct and immediate interest they had in it was not to be compared to the interest of the bankers of London. London was the great centre, and mart of all money transactions, and very few bills of exchange, drawn or negociated through the whole country, but found their way to London. The danger of Forgery, therefore, was ten-fold greater in London than in any other place. Since the abolition of the small notes also, the number of Forgeries committed on country bankers had considerably diminished. Forgeries of 5l. notes, and of notes to a large amount, had never been so frequent as of the 1l. and 2l. notes. It might, at first view, appear as easy to obtain 50l. or 20l. for signing a name as 1l. or 2l.; but it was to be remembered that the large sums caused the notes to be examined. The small notes also were taken by a different class of persons—they were passed among the working classes, who had not time nor skill to examine them or to detect the Forgery. Moreover, generally, the 5l. notes were made payable in London; and if they were once paid, the London banker was responsible for the sum. As to cheques, which were the great instruments forged, the country bankers hardly used them. They were not acquainted with cheques as they were used by the London bankers. Besides, in their narrow circle, every person who drew cheques was known, and Forgery was there much more difficult than in London. He believed that the forgery of a cheque in any provincial town, except Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, and one or two others, was hardly known. Thus, in estimating the interests of London and Country Bankers in this question, those of the latter would be found to be comparatively small. The argument in favour of the principle he was opposing was this, and he wished to state it fairly. The severity of the law, it was said, defeats its own object; it prevents prosecutions, it leads, when criminals are prosecuted, to their acquittal, it enlists in their cause the sympathies of juries, and the sympathy of the public, and leaving a prosecutor without hope of obtaining a conviction, gives him an interest in avoiding a prosecution. He admitted the existence of a reluctance to prosecute, but he believed that it was not always wholly dictated by conscientious motives; other motives, mingling with the conscientious motives, did deter people from prosecution. There was the great expense of the prosecution, and the chance of the criminal escaping. When a man had been defrauded of 80l. or 200l., he did not always see the necessity of expending 80l. or 100l. more in prosecuting the criminal, without a chance of recovering his property. It might only be regarded, according to a vulgar saying, as throwing good money after bad; and, therefore, prosecutions were abstained from on account of the expense, as well as on account of conscientious motives. To illustrate this he would observe that the country bankers had proposed to the Bank of England, in cases where the forged bills of the latter were paid to the former, to give the Bank of England all the information in their power if it would prosecute, or even to be at half the expense; but when they found that the Bank would do neither they declined to prosecute. He could not allow, therefore, that all the reluctance proceeded from conscientious motives; and he could not admit, that if the law were altered as to severity that there would be no reluctance to prosecute. He was sorry to fatigue the House with details, but he hoped that the Members would give to the following facts their deliberate attention. The argument was, that the reluctance to punish the parties with death prevented individuals from prosecuting and juries from convicting. It was difficult to determine the cases not prosecuted. Individual instances were, no doubt, known, but he hoped the House would not draw a general conclusion from isolated facts. He would compare the cases abandoned by prosecutors, after commencing the prosecution for Forgery, with the prosecutions abandoned for some other crimes. Selecting the seven years between 1823 and 1829, inclusive, he had examined the question in reference to six other capital offences; that was, he had taken the charges preferred on six capital offences, and the number of prosecutions abandoned on them. These were murder, burglary, highway-robbery, horse-stealing, sheep-stealing, and offences under Lord Ellenborough's Act. On these six capital offences, the number of offences charged in the seven years was 8,392; and of these 1,054 had not been prosecuted, or the abandonment of prosecutions amounted to one-eighth of the whole number of charges. The number of charges of Forgery during the same period was 383, and of these fifty-three cases had not been prosecuted. There was, therefore, about one-eighth of the prosecutions for this crime, as of the former class of crimes, abandoned. There was no greater number abandoned in Forgery than in murder and other crimes. The acquittals were of more importance, in his view of the matter, than the abandonments of prosecution, for they had in them less of what was vague and uncertain. Taking the capital crimes before mentioned, he found that the number of them charged in the seven years he had already alluded to was 7,328, and of these the convictions were 4,850, so that the proportion of convictions to charges was as two to three. There was one third acquitted. The proportion of acquittals for Forgery was not greater. It might be said, indeed, that several of the crimes he had selected—such as sheep-stealing and horse-stealing—were, like Forgery, condemned by the general sentiment, and therefore that the acquittals under them would be as numerous as those under the charge of Forgery, and from the same cause. To avoid this imputation, he would take the case of murder, and see what proportion the charges and acquittals bore to each other. The charges for murder, in the seven years, were 479, and the convictions were only 99; so that the convictions were to the charges as one to five. There were in the same period 2,760 charges of Forgery, and the convictions were 1,790; so that the House would see that the convictions were more numerous in proportion for Forgery than for murder. The latter was as five to eight, the former only as one to five. He contended from this view, that the law had not been so inoperative, as some hon. Members supposed and that it had, in fact, protected property to a very considerable extent. He thought, therefore, that the punishment of death had checked the crime of Forgery, and was thus a protection to public morality. The parties most interested in the question of preventing Forgery were the London Bankers, and Bank of England, and he would advert to the magnitude of the property they had at stake. He would first take the case of the Bank of England, and the House would see if the punishment of death might not be necessary for the protection of its property. The number of Stock Accounts, in the Bank of England, was not less than 300,000. It paid in the course of one year, not less than 400,000 drafts, and there were not less than 1,000 transfers of Stocks made in its books daily. Before they came to any determination on this subject they ought to look to the state of criminal prosecutions for Forgery at the present moment. And first he would beg the House to look at the number of prosecutions instituted by those establishments most exposed to suffer from Forgery. The prosecutions, then, of the Bank of England since the withdrawal of the 1l. notes had been gradually on the decline. Bear this in mind, therefore, when the question of altering the law was to be considered, that in an establishment which had 300,000 accounts of Stock—which paid 400,000 checks every year, and which had 1,000 transfers of stock every day, there had been only two prosecutions for Forgery at the last assizes, while up to the present moment there was not a single prosecution pending for the next assizes. This was the state of crime, with reference to this great establishment, under the present law of punishing Forgery by death. He had felt it his duty to make very minute inquiries with respect to the practical operation of the present system, in the case of the great London Bankers, in order that he might come to some positive conclusion whether the infliction of the punishment of death tended to the promotion of morality, or of the reverse. It might be necessary to state, that in London there had been formed, in the year 1825, an association for the purpose of protecting Bankers against Forgery, by an immediate prosecution of all those accused of that crime. This association was composed of thirty-six of the most eminent London Bankers. They have a secretary and a solicitor, and to them, he apprehended, it was the practice to commit the conduct of the prosecution. The members were, of course, bound to communicate any offence in the way of Forgery, of which they became cognizant. He believed there were two instances of a departure from that practice. He would not name them; but ordinarily, he understood, it was the practice for the members to communicate to the secretary and solicitor the commission of any Forgery which came to their knowledge.

Mr. Martin

begged pardon for interrupting the right hon. Gentleman; but although he was a member of the association, he never understood that it was binding on them to make any communication to the secretary or solicitor, unless they thought proper to do so.

Sir R. Peel

said, he did not wish to mention names, but he had been assured of the fact on very good authority. Returning, however, to this association, he found, by returns which he had received, that at the Clearing Office of these Bankers there were paid, on the 13th, 14th and 15th of the month of May, bills and checks to the number of 45,800, and the money value of this amazing number of drafts and bills, all of them liable to Forgery, amounted to 10,095,000l. But this was not all—he found that four of the banking houses, whose members belonged to the committee, liquidated demands upon paper, and therefore liable to Forgery to the extraordinary amount of 500,000,000l. in the year. Now, by the returns from the secretary of the Committee of London Bankers, he found, that in 1827 there were nineteen Forgeries committed, and that the amount of the Forgeries was 7,000l. In 1828 there were sixteen Forgeries, and the amount was 15,000l. In 1829 there were twelve Forgeries, and the amount was 2,500l.; and in the present year, up to the latest time at which the return could be made out, there were only four Forgeries, and the amount was 658l. Coupling, therefore, the fact of there being at the present moment no Forgery under prosecution by the Bank of England, and that the prosecutions by this society of the Bankers of the Metropolis were gradually diminishing, he thought they ought maturely to consider how far the present law had proved sufficient for its end, before they abandoned the infliction of the punishment of death, and substituted for it a secondary punishment, which was expected to operate more effectually to the prevention of crime. He confessed he had not heard from the right hon. Gentleman that satisfactory explanation of the nature and effect of secondary punishments which he expected from him with reference to this subject. The men accustomed, as forgers generally were, to all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life, were not likely to be influenced so much by the fear of the punishment of transportation and imprisonment, as of death. They were, by their habits and education, placed in a situation which prohibited the beneficial exercise of the system of secondary punishments. In many cases the Government had tried the effect of secondary punishments. It had imprisoned men for seven years, and what was the consequence? Why that the low diet and the languor produced by solitary confinement had given rise to a mortal and infectious disease, which the most eminent physicians ascribed, after the most minute inquiry, to purely moral causes, to the languor of long and solitary confinement, coupled with the prison diet, which, as a fit punishment, was allotted them. It was observed, indeed, by Sir Henry Halford, when giving his evidence to the committee who sat on this subject, that punishment by solitary confinement and low diet, acted with a double force on those whose previous habits were far removed from such privations. But, in addition to disease, there was another evil to be guarded against. It not unfrequently happened, that the languor of solitary confinement led to some of the most formidable aggravations of insanity, Then came the question of whether this insanity was feigned or real—whether the sufferings were pretended, or the result of the situation and previous habits of the criminal—so that, under any view of the case, the infliction of long solitary confinement as a secondary punishment, presented numberless difficulties. Then came the question of the infliction of hard labour. Now, with every disposition to make the criminal suffer by the infliction of hard labour, it not unfrequently happened that his previous habits of life precluded the possibility of putting that portion of the sentence in force. It was frequently impossible to inflict such a punishment. But supposing he did send a man of education to the hulks at Dept-ford or Chatham; after he had been there for two or three years, suffering under the eyes of the public, what security had the Executive that the public sympathy would not be as much awakened in his favour, and the public prejudice as much directed against the infliction of hard labour, as it is now against the taking away the life of the offender for the same crime? What certainty had he that the public and prosecutors would not shrink as much from inflicting the punishment of solitary imprisonment or hard labour, as they now do from that of death? The infliction of secondary punishments, such as hard labour, low diet, and solitary confinement, had been tried for ten years, and it had been found impossible to continue it, for the consequence always was, that they were compelled to alter the diet of the prisoners, and to give a kind of nutriment, which, as was observed by an hon. Member (Colonel Davies) the other evening, when he had not an opportunity of answering his remarks, rendered the situation of the convict an object of envy to the agricultural labourer, whose honest industry would not procure him any sustenance of the same description. It was said, however, that they might transport offenders of this description to New South Wales, and keep them to hard labour there. Independently of the power which a man of education must always exercise among such persons as he would be compelled to associate with in New South Wales, it was scarcely possible to guard against other peculiarities of the situation of a person committing Forgery. A man who was guilty of that crime, seldom or never failed to secure a considerable sum of money. He might even escape discovery long enough to accumulate a very large sum, and it must therefore be taken into calculation, that when detected and subjected to punishment, he might employ a portion of his gains for the purpose of effecting his escape. In truth, if the infliction of secondary punishments, such as imprisonment or confinement to the hulks, were to' be had recourse to in such cases, he for one had no confidence in being able to prevent a forger from finding the means of escape. For these reasons, which he had thus candidly avowed, he had no confidence in secondary punishments producing the end all had in view—the prevention of crime—unless they made them so severe that the mind of the prisoner would be affected—the public sympathy awakened for his sufferings, or his constitution prove inadequate to the support of the sentence. On these grounds, therefore, he submitted the question to the impartial and unbiassed decision of the House—premising only that his decided opinion, supported by many years' experience, was in favour of the law as it stood, and expressing, as he did, his conscientious conviction that the adoption of the right hon. Gentleman's proposition would not tend to the repression of crime. He must oppose the Amendment.

Mr. Brougham

said, he felt bound, from the very same arguments, to come to a different conclusion from that adopted by the right hon. Gentleman. It was said that the number of prosecutions by the Bank of England was daily diminishing, and that as there could be no such desire to avoid the infliction of capital punishments in the minds of the Directors of the Bank of England, that unflinching prosecutor, as was visible in others,—as they were free from any scruples on that point, that therefore, the offence of forging was not so often committed, and the law required no alteration, because it worked well for the protection of the bankers and the public. The right hon. Gentleman also contended that secondary punishments were not safe to rest on for security; and he contended that they were at all times of too unsatisfactory a nature to deter from the commission of crime. Now, that was just his (Mr. Brougham's) difficulty in this case. How was it that the law performed its office well? Why, because of this very secondary punishment, which the right hon. Gentleman attempted to demonstrate was inefficient and insupportable, and almost impossible to be executed. He would just beg of the House to look a little at the real state of the case. In the last seven years there had been 217 convictions for Forgery—that is, 217 persons sentenced to death, independently of those who were compelled to suffer minor punishments for minor offences of the same nature. And how many had been subjected to the unsatisfactory and ineffectual, and all but impracticable secondary punishments which the right hon. Gentleman describes? Why, of this 217, just twenty-four were executed: just nine, to one therefore, had been subjected to the secondary punishment alone. If, therefore, there was only one criminal hung out of every ten, the punishment of death, upon which the right hon. Gentleman laid so much stress, terrifies, not because it is certain, but because it is nine to one that the criminal escapes. The persons who commit Forgery are practical men, they are skilled in calculation: they know that one in ten is executed, and that the others escape. It is, therefore, ten to one, in the present case, in their minds, that, having committed Forgery, they may not, if detected and convicted, escape that punishment which the right hon. Gentleman says they so much dread; for if they do not look forward with anxiety and dread to the consequences of their crime, the principle of the right hon. Gentleman's arguments' fails altogether. If men did not reason on the probable consequences of their crimes, if they had no foresight, no know- 'ledge of their possible effect, then must punishment as an example be altogether useless, and it would be better to get rid of it: if they did reason, if they did calculate, they must calculate, they must reason in the way he had described, even calculating the chances in their favour with a sanguine temperament, and they must be made criminal by the hope of escaping the punishment at present ordained for their offence. The question then is—and it. is not a new one—whether, if the chance of the punishment of death happening to one in ten, does not prevent the crime of Forgery, the certainty of the secondary punishment, which they also must calculate on, will not operate materially to influence those who are disposed to the commission of such a crime? It is well known that the men who generally embark in hazardous enterprises, such as those undertaken by the forger, are persons of a very sanguine temperament, and that they generally build very strongly on their good fortune, and take a very favourable view of the prospects under which they venture to commit such a crime. Ought the Legislature then to build up a fabric to encourage those sanguine temperaments, and hold out to the forger a prospect spread before him, a field of chances, in which there are nine to one in favour of his escaping with impunity from the fate which should await his crime? First, there is the chance that he will not be detected; secondly, there is the chance that when detected, he will, from motives of humanity, and because the persons on whom he has forged disapprove of the punishment of death, not be prosecuted. Next, then, is the chance that when prosecuted he may, from some flaw in the evidence, escape conviction; and lastly, there is the chance, that after having run through all this gauntlet, he will be landed in such a situation, that it is ten to one whether he does not escape capital punishment. This is the position in which those who commit Forgery feel themselves now, and these are the terrors which the right hon. Gentleman would have them to believe led to the gradual extinction of Forgery. One great difficulty was, to induce juries, under the existing law, to convict for Forgery. But the grand difficulty was, to prevail on prosecutors and witnesses to come forward. Even if prosecutors were callous themselves, which was rarely the case, they were surrounded by persons who were not so, and who would dissuade them from prosecuting, lest, in the event of a conviction, the Judge should happen to lean towards severity. Whether from one motive or another, therefore, prosecutors were disinclined to proceed; but principally, perhaps, because they felt that the reluctance of witnesses and jurors rendered it a matter of great difficulty to obtain a conviction. The grand difficulty however, was, to prevail upon prosecutors and witnesses to come forward, which was even much greater than getting jurors to convict, for when men were assembled together in the jury-box, placed in an elevated situation, before their assembled fellow citizens, and under the eye of a Judge, bound by the oath they had just taken, the effect of which circumstances was best known to those who most practised in courts of law—when their omissions as well as their commissions were carefully noted, their errors and their ignorance being equally subject to criticism and review—when men were so situated it was not so difficult to induce them not to give way to what was perhaps called their mistaken feelings, and not to act on those humane inclinations which would guide the conduct of every one of them, when acting as an individual, bound by no oath, and not exposed to public scrutiny. The Statute-book might be blackened or reddened as much as the Legislature chose, but it was merely waste paper if the enactments which it contained could not be carried into effect. It ought to be considered that there was no public prosecutor here, as in Scotland, and this he was free to confess seemed to him to be the root of much evil in all our criminal proceedings. But if prosecutors were with difficulty brought forward, the difficulty of bringing forward witnesses was still greater. Those who had been accustomed to attend the Assizes at Lancaster were alone able to judge of the difficulty of inducing persons engaged in mercantile pursuits, and residing in Liverpool or Manchester, to sacrifice their time and to travel fifty or sixty miles, in order to give evidence in ordinary cases. How much more reluctant they were to come when their object was, to establish the guilt of a human being who might by their testimony be doomed to death, it was easy to imagine. The true mode of forming any penal code was, to make the punishment a certain one, whatever it might be. No man would commit a crime, if he were absolutely certain that in the course of three or four months he would be prosecuted and punished. No man would ever forge a note for 1000l. if he were absolutely certain that, for that offence, he would suffer, not death, but two years' imprisonment. It was true that it was impossible to make the punishment of crime absolutely certain; but every effort should be made to approximate as nearly as possible to that result. To show how much greater the approach to certainty in the punishment of some crimes was, as compared with the approach to certainty in the punishment of other crimes, he would contrast the crimes of murder and forgery. Of 217 persons convicted of Forgery in seven years, only twenty-four had been executed; while of ninety-seven persons convicted of murder in the same period, eighty-eight had been executed. The right hon. Baronet had attempted to prove, that there was no more difficulty in obtaining convictions for Forgery than for murder, and he had referred to returns which shewed that in proportion to the number of prosecutions for Forgery, the number of convictions was greater than for murder. But that was plainly owing to the fact, that indictments for murder included two classes of offences, murder and manslaughter; so that out of the 400 and odd trials to which the right hon. Baronet alluded, it was possible that not above the ninety-nine convictions he mentioned were cases of actual murder. There was no offence known to the law in which so many distinctions were taken as killing a man; no crime concerning which there were so many difficult points, from all which circumstances there were just so many chances, that a man, on being indicted for murder, might be found guilty of manslaughter. That fact completely disposed of the argument raised by the hon. Baronet, on the supposition that convictions were as frequent in prosecutions for Forgery, as in prosecutions for murder. To shew that, the present law worked well, the right hon. Baronet had stated, that the Bank of England had only two prosecutions for Forgery in the last year. But why? Because the Directors of that company only brought forward cases in which they felt confident that they could obtain convictions. Their conduct had been unpopular in this respect, and they would now even withdraw after having commenced proceedings if they saw the least chance of being defeated. That the general impression throughout the country, on the part of those most interested in the question, was in favour of the abolition of death for the crime of Forgery, could not be doubted. The Table groaned with petitions to that effect. These petitions were suggested, not merely by the feelings of humanity, but by the dictates of good sense. They proceeded from persons to whom paper credit was the breath of their nostrils; they proceeded from persons who complained that the crime of Forgery went unpunished, and who declared that it would continue to go unpunished while it continued to be a capital offence. The cases of Forgery which the Bill exempted from the punishment of death were so rare, that, practically speaking, they were as nothing. The degree of improvement in the law, therefore, which the Bill was calculated to effect could not be rated higher than zero. Bank-notes, bills, and promissory notes were indeed frequently forged, but not. so bonds or deeds. He would make a concession to the right hon. Gentleman—he would allow the punishment of death to be inflicted for the Forgery of the Great Seal or for the Forgery of the Privy Seal: The fact was, however, that there was no reason for making any distinction whatever on the subject. Such were the opinions which he entertained upon this question—opinions which he had imbibed many years ago from his great and lamented friend, Sir Samuel Romilly—and therefore he had felt it his duty not to be altogether silent with respect to them. He congratulated the friends of humanity on the discussion of that night, and on the great progress that they were making in public opinion; and he congratulated his hon. and learned friend on the prospect that he would live to see the day, when this stain upon our Statute-book would be removed.

Mr. F. Buxton

observed, that at that late hour he would trespass upon the patience of the House with but very few remarks. The law, as it at present stood, encouraged instead of discouraging crime; it was an encouragement to perjury on the part of jurors, grounded on a tenderness for human life. There was much to justify this tenderness. If he were told that a criminal would be subjected to some ignominious punishment, that he would be condemned to hard labour or transportation for life, he might be induced to spare no pains to bring him to justice; but the case was different when he knew that the result of bringing a criminal to justice might be putting him to death, and sending him to the awful tribunal of another world with all his guilt on his head. Let the House recollect that a petition had been that day presented in favour of abolishing the punishment of death for Forgery, signed by above 1,000 bankers. That was not like an ordinary petition. No object could be so important to such petitioners as the prevention of Forgery. Hundreds of millions of money passed through their hands; and they were therefore most deeply interested in the adoption of such measures as would guard them from loss; but they declared by their petition that in their opinion the infliction of death for the crime of Forgery was not calculated to effect that object. It was formerly said that the friends of the abolition of the punishment of death for Forgery were theoretical. Now, however it was distinctly stated by large bodies of practical men, that the punishment of death for Forgery prevented prosecutions and convictions, and thereby left their property unprotected. The difficulty of obtaining convictions, naturally prevented bankers from prosecuting; for it was obvious that there were many reasons to disincline bankers from letting the world know that Forgeries had been committed upon them, unless they could feel tolerably sure of being able to convict the persons by whom those Forgeries had been perpetrated. There were many other points on which it would be easy to dilate; but he would abstain from troubling the House any further at that late hour.

Mr. C. W. Wynn

highly complimented his right hon. friend on the efforts which he had made, and was making to ameliorate the Criminal Code of the country, although he could not agree with him on the present question. His right hon. friend had stated, that country bankers were not sufferers by Forgery; but by the returns on the Table, it appeared, that there were more convictions for Forgery at the county assizes than in London and Middlesex. It was demonstrated that the severity of the threatened punishment did not check the increase of the offence. Though he was disposed to pay great deference to the opinion of his right hon. friend, he must vote for the abolition of the punishment of death. Was it not worth while to try the experiment of abolishing it? If the experiment failed, the public feeling would then be reconciled, however reluctantly, to the re-enactment of the capital punishment. In his opinion, the last and severest punishment that it was in the power of man to inflict ought to be reserved for offences of the greatest moral guilt.

Mr. J. Martin

was persuaded that, upon the whole, it was desirable to try what effect the abolition of the punishment of death would produce.

Sir J. Yorke

was of opinion, that if the law were once altered, it would not be easy to bring it back to its present state. Having more faith in the judgment of his right hon. friend than he had in that of a 1,000 bankers, he should vote for the Bill as it stood.

Sir T. D. Acland

supported the Amendment.

After a few words from Mr. Brougham and Sir Robert Peel, the Committee divided—For the Amendment 118; Against it 134—Majority 16.

List of the Minority.
Acland, Sir Thomas Browne, Jas.
Althorp, Lord Brownlow, Charles
Anson, Hon. Geo. Byng, George
Batley, H. Benett, John
Bayley, Col. Barclay, D.
Baring, Sir Thomas Barclay, C.
Baring, B. Bentinck, Lord G.
Baring, F. Carter, J. B.
Bell, M. Cavendish, Wm.
Bernal, R. Chichester, Sir A.
Blandford, Marquis Colborne, R.
Bramston, T. Crompton, Samuel
Brougham, H. Calthorpe, Hon. A. G.
Buck, L. W. Calthorpe, Hon. F. G.
Buxton, F. Corbett, P.
Buller, C. Clements, Lord
Calvert, N. Ponsonby, Hon. G.
Calvert, Charles Ponsonby, Hon. Wm.
Davies, Colonel Protheroe, Edward
Denison, W. J. Poyntz, W. S.
Dickinson, W. Robinson, G. R.
Dundas, Sir Robert Robinson, Sir G.
Dawson, Alex. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Easthope, John Rice, Spring
Ebrington, Lord Russell, Wm.
Ewart, W. Russell, Lord John
Fergusson, Sir R. C. Rumbold, Chas. E.
Fortescue, Hon. G. Sebright, Sir John
Fyler, J. B. Slaney, R. A.
Grant, Robert Shelley, Sir J.
Graham, Sir James Smith, Robert
Grattan, Henry. Smith, William
Grattan, James Stanley, E. G.
Guise, Sir W., Bart. Tennyson, C.
Gooch, Sir T. Townshend, Lord C.
Harvey, D. W. Talmash, Hon.—
Heneage, G. F. Trant, W. H.
Horton, Rt. Hon. W. Villiers, J. H.
Howick, Lord Wall, C. Baring
Huskisson. Rt. Hon. W. Ward, John
Honywood, W. P. Warburton, Hen.
Hobhouse, J. C. Whitmore, W.
Jephson, C. D. O. Western, C. C.
King, Hon. Robert (Roscommon). Westenra, Hon. H. R.
Wood, Charles
Kennedy, T. F. Wood, Alderman
Kekewich, S. T. Wynn, Right. Hon. C.
Kemp, T. R. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Lawley, Francis Wilson, Sir Robert
Lennard, Thos. B. Wrottesley, Sir John
Legge, Hon. A. C. TELLER.
Lushington, Dr. Thomson, Poulett
Macauley, T. B. PAIRED OFF.
Marjoribanks, S. Attwood, M.
Monck, J. B. Beaumont, T. W.
Morpeth, Lord Visct. Bireh, Joseph
Marshall, John Cave, Otway
Marryatt, Joseph Davenport, E.
Martin, John Dundas, Hon. Thos.
Milton, Lord Ellis, Agar
Macintosh, Rt. Hon. Sir James Gordon, Robert
Hume, Joseph
Nugent, Lord Phillimore, Dr.
O'Connell, Daniel Power, R.
Ord, W. Russell, Lord Wm.
Oxmantown Lord Stanley, Lord
Parnell, Sir Hen. Sykes, Dan.
Pallmer, C. N. Thompson, P. B.
Palmerston, Lord Wood, John
Pendarvis, E. W. Wyvill, M.

The various clauses of the Bill then went through the Committee.

Mr. F. Buxton

gave notice that, on the bringing up of the report, his right hon. And learned friend would move that the punishment of transportation or imprisonment should be substituted for the punishment of death.

The House resumed; the report to be received the next day.

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