HC Deb 13 May 1834 vol 23 cc893-937
Mr. Baring

presented a petition from 500 of his consti- tuents, praying the House to institute an inquiry into the present mode of admitting persons to practise at the bar. They objected to the present mode of admission, and he fully concurred with them in thinking it highly objectionable, that any one body should have the power of excluding persons from practising at the bar, and that for life, at their own will and pleasure. He also presented a similar petition from Colchester.

Mr. Lennard

presented a petition to the same effect from 300 electors of South Essex. He said, no means had been resorted to for the purpose of getting it up, and it was most respectably signed. The petitioners thought such an irresponsible and extensive power prejudicial to the public, and ought not to be intrusted to any body of men, still less to one over whom the public had no control. He considered it quite anomalous, too, that the hon. member for Colchester should be debarred from practising as a barrister, and yet be allowed to practise as a solicitor. They considered such a power as that claimed by the Benchers wholly unnecessary, as barristers were constantly before the public, who were the best judges of their conduct, and who would not employ them if they were not deserving of encouragement. They complained also, that justice had not been done to Mr. Harvey—that witnesses had not been compelled to attend—that they were not sworn, and that the judges should have no power to examine into the allegations against an applicant for admission, but rest satisfied with the certificate of the benchers. He entirely concurred in the sentiments contained in the petition, and trusted the question, as far as it related to the hon. member for Colchester, would have a fair and full investigation.

Mr. O'Connell

rose to move for the appointment of a Select Committee, to inquire into the practice observed by the four Inns of Court in London, and also by the King's Inns, Dublin, upon the application of persons to be admitted students, and to be called to the bar; and also to inquire into the revenues of each Inn, and the application thereof. What had fallen from hon. Members on presenting these petitions would enable him to spare the time of the House, and so would, even to a greater degree, the sixth report of the Common Law Commissioners, which had just been laid before the House. That report described the power claimed by the benchers as unlimited, unrestrained, and anomalous, while they had no power relative to the admission of solicitors and attornies. Such a tribunal was only intended to prevent the admission of improper persons to the bar. Now, it was important, that the House should consider whether or not there was any serious evil to be apprehended from the admission of improper persons to the bar. The House should recollect, that the profession of a barrister was not one which, per se, entitled the party to any emolument, or which gave him a claim to any employment, unless such as the public might choose to give him. All a barrister had to do was, to undertake to discharge any specific duty which a party might choose to confide in him. The public were not, it should be observed, bound to place that confidence in any particular individual; nor was the monopoly of the bar so very close as to impose a sort of obligation on the public to employ any particular person in this profession. The profession was most numerous, and, therefore, if any improper person found his way into it, there was the less likelihood of his obtaining employment. Was it not, then, a dangerous power to vest in the Inns to reject any person they might think proper?—He would illustrate the hardship of the case by referring to the humble individual who had the honour of addressing the House. Suppose that, before he had been called to the bar, he had been an active politician, and that the benchers of the Inn to which he applied for admission had thought proper to reject him; he should thus have been excluded from the emoluments of a tolerably successful professional career, and from many other advantages. Or suppose the benchers had rejected the application for admission of the hon. and learned Gentleman near him (Sir James Scarlett), in comparison with whose success, his own was ludicrously small—suppose that any secret enemy of that hon. and learned Gentleman had contrived to whisper away his character, and that the benchers had rejected him; he would have had no remedy, and would have been deprived of the emoluments of his great professional knowledge, and the public would have lost the advantage of his professional services. It was impossible to exaggerate the importance of the power possessed by the tribunal to which he referred; it was impossible to go too far in diminishing the difficulties of going to the bar. His own impression was opposed to the species of examination adopted with regard to persons going to the bar. The case of Wooler was a very strong instance in support of his principle. That man's character was free from reproach; but he was a working printer. From the talent and industry he displayed in his trade, his friends thought that he would rise to eminence if he was a member of the legal profession. But he was a working printer; and in a commercial country like England,—apparently for no better reason than that he made his livelihood by working at his trade—the application of Wooler to be admitted to one of the Inns of Court was refused, and refused without a remedy. He applied to the Court of King's-Bench, and the only result of his application was, to assure him, that there was no tribunal which could hold out to him the remotest prospect of relief. Ought such an evil as that to be suffered? Was the present Government prepared to say it ought to continue? Suppose no investigation whatever had taken place, would not the very case he had just cited, fully justify him in calling upon the Government to institute an inquiry? But he was relieved from the necessity of saying much on the subject, for a previous investigation showed, that there was ground to justify the appointment of a Committee. An investigation had taken place—a report had been published—the necessity of relief was fully and forcibly pointed out—but the particulars of the relief required were, he was bound to suppose, with a most proper caution, left unexplained. There were four Inns in London, and the King's Inn in Dublin, which had the power of deciding to a certain extent upon young men's fortunes by refusing their admission. In the observations which he should feel it his duty to offer to the House, he should confine himself to the four inns of London, as what he should say of them would be equally applicable to the King's Inn in Dublin. The first question which naturally suggested itself was, how did these Inns come to acquire this right? Was it from charter? Was it from Royal grant? Had they it from Act of Parliament, or from any thing that could be called the law of the land? No, not from any of these. There was no charter, no grant, no Act of Parliament; nothing that could be defined as law upon which this right was based. The Report of the Commissioners was decisive upon that subject. It was, in fact, a voluntary society—a trades' union of its own creation, which chose to exercise that right over the brothers of the trade. The tailors of the "body" had, in fact, just as much right to exercise a jurisdiction over their brothers in the craft. He would read an extract from the report of the Common Law Commissioners upon the subject. Speaking of the privilege, the report says—"the origin of this privilege of the Inns of Court appears to be involved in considerable obscurity." It was observed by Lord Mansfield, in the case of the King v. Gray's Inn, Dang. 354, That the original institution of the Inns of Court no where precisely appears, but it is certain that they are not corporations, and have no charters from the Crown. They are voluntary societies, which for ages have submitted to Government, analogous to that of other seminaries of learning; but all the power they have, concerning the admission to the bar, is delegated to them from the Judges; and in every instance their conduct is subject to their control, as visitors. From this extract it appeared, that the power which the Inns possessed concerning admission to the bar was delegated to them by the Judges. But where did the Judges themselves get that authority? It is also said, that the Inns are subject to the Judges as visitors. Now, if there was any one species of authority which more than another ought to be exercised under the surveillance of Parliament, it was that visitorial authority alleged to be invested in the Judges. It was, as hon. Members were aware, absolute, and under no control, and, therefore, the more required correction, and the examination of Parliament. It would be found, that these Inns were, in their origin, what they were stated to be in the extract he had read, "seminaries of learning." It appeared, that in ancient times, the students were in the habit of pleading fictitious cases before the benchers, which were decided before dinner. Not only were they "seminaries of learning," but they were even seminaries of "accomplishments," for Sir John Fortescue observed, that young gentlemen there learned to dance, to sing, and play upon instru- ments, and were wont to study divinity upon the festivals. Every body knew that, at present, the apparatus of the Inns of Court, for the teaching of accomplishments had dwindled down to places for the eating of a certain number of dinners. The students had been in the habit of discussing questions of law, but they now only discussed mutton and beef, and drank bad port, while the benchers and barristers were provided with excellent claret. To be sure it might be improved since his time, but, at the period he was "keeping his terms," it was very bad indeed. He would also just mention that, at these Inns, so particular were they about the personal appearance of the students, that there was an order issued in the time of Queen Elizabeth, that every student should shave himself, or be shaved once a fortnight. Well, these seminaries had now dwindled into dining-rooms, and yet they possessed the power of deciding on the fortunes of young men, and very considerable property in addition. But why should he detain the House by arguments, when he had the report of the Commissioners to refer to? He would read an extract from that report, with respect to the admission of conveyancers and pleaders:—'With respect to the regulation which relates to practising as special pleaders or conveyancers, and the necessity of obtaining, for that purpose, the permission of the societies, it appears to us to be objectionable. Its apparent object is, to prevent uneducated and incompetent persons from practising in those capacities; but its effect is, to make all persons, however well qualified, hold their professions of special pleaders or conveyancers, by the precarious tenure of the pleasure of the benchers, and to vest in those gentlemen a discretion very liable to abuse. Here, then, the Commissioners clearly pointed out the evil which existed; but had they suggested any remedy? No, they had not. The mischief was pointed out; the necessity of remedying it was clearly shown; but the mode of remedying it was not even suggested. Was it possible for him to show a stronger case to justify the House in instituting an inquiry? Here were two most important branches of the profession left at the caprice of the benchers. He did not mean to cast any imputation upon the benchers; he did not mean to deny, that the present benchers were the best of all possible benchers—nor was it to be expected, that we should "look upon their like again." But was it not obvious to every Gentleman in that House, that the power which the benchers possessed should not be left in their hands? Was it not obvious, that that power should be brought under the control of Parliament? The Report, to which he had before referred, also stated, that the regulation with respect to the admission of students was unsatisfactory. Was not this an additional fact to strengthen the case for inquiry? In the Report which he held in his hand there was the evidence of a gentleman named Curwood, eminent in his profession, who stated, that when he was about being called to the Bar, his application for admission was rejected by the Benchers; and why? For any crime—any fault of his? No; but simply because a friend of his had had a dispute with one of the Benchers. Thus did this gentleman lose twelve months of the most valuable period of his life, simply because his friend had quarrelled with a Bencher. How did that House know how many more might have been similarly aggrieved. All they knew was, that every man who applied for admission to the Bar was liable to be so injured. Then, as to the call to the Bar. It appeared that the Judges might be appealed to as visitors. Now, Heaven knew, the Judges had quite enough to do in their judicial capacity; but even suppose they had not, did not the Report of the Commissioners satisfactorily demonstrate, that the present mode of investigation was most unsatisfactory? It was secret: carried on, it might be, behind the backs of those most interested in it: no "notice" given to the party complaining: the tribunal had, too, the power of excluding the public. When a party was heard before them, they might condescend—for it would be a mere act of condescension—to hear witnesses in his behalf. But who were these witnesses? Ought they not to come before the tribunal with, at least, some suspicion resting upon them, inasmuch as they were voluntary, and not subpoenaed witnesses? The tribunal granted no process to compel the attendance of witnesses. Why, in a case of the most trifling description, if only twenty-pence were at stake, or a case of trivial assault were at issue, the Court granted a process to compel the attendance of witnesses; but here, where character, above all price, was at issue, no process was granted to procure evidence by compulsion. Thus, in cases before this tribunal, every witness came forward with this taint, that he must be, in some degree, a partisan, inasmuch as he comes forward a voluntary witness. In page 9 of the Report it was said,—"It would be right, also, in our opinion, to establish, by way of positive regulation, that, in all cases where an application is rejected, whether it relates to admission as a student or to the call to the Bar, the party applying shall have notice, in writing, of the cause of rejection, shall be allowed to clear himself from any charge of misconduct which it may involve; and for that purpose shall be at liberty to make his defence either in person or by Counsel, and to produce evidence; and that a full report of the whole evidence and other proceedings before the Benchers shall (in the event of an appeal) be laid before the Judges." A "regulation" was recommended by the Commissioners; but in his opinion, legislation would be infinitely the better way of arranging the whole matter. But he felt, that this subject involved a case of importance; and it was one from which he would not shrink. It was not his wish, nor was it the wish of his hon. friend (the member for Colchester) to throw any imputation upon any individuals, but the decision in his case was not given before the public; and, after all, there was no better guardian of judicial integrity than public opinion. If those who judged were always sensible, that their judgment would be revised by a tribunal, from whose decision there was no appeal, they would, perhaps, be more generally careful in coming to a decision. His hon. friend had been, since 1818, a Member of that House. Six times had a popular constituency selected him at six different elections. The people of Colchester—his neighbours—who had the best opportunities of being acquainted with his character, had thus stamped upon it the broad seal of their approbation. He was fit to be a Member of that House, and yet was not deemed fit—for what? To run his chance of getting a brief from any one who might think proper to confide the management of their lives, liberties, or properties to his zeal, integrity, and talent. Did not this case, then, demand, trumpet-tongued, that an inquiry should take place? He (Mr. O'Connell) had read the case which had been made against his hon. friend; and, without meaning in anywise to disparage the tribunal which had given the decision, he most solemnly and firmly asserted his conviction, that never was there a man more grievously or more unjustly injured than the hon. member for Colchester. Had he to address a Jury on this subject, selected with even moderate fairness, with such a case as his hon. friend had, he would stake whatever professional reputation he possessed, that he could not fail of obtaining a verdict. This was his firm and conscientious conviction—not as an advocate, for he rather stood there as a Judge than in any other capacity. With the hon. Gentleman he was only in political friendship. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman on some political subjects, and differed from him upon others, and of as much importance as any subject that could come under consideration. But, in speaking as he had done, he merely discharged what he felt to be a duty; and, with the impressions which were upon his mind, he could not suppose that the House would refuse a Committee of Inquiry. Could there be any fairer mode of inquiry than a Committee of that House? There both parties might have whatever evidence either might deem important to support their respective cases. If a decision were given against his hon. friend, his mouth should be closed upon the subject; and he thought he might venture to make a similar promise for his hon. friend himself. He would now offer a few observations to the House upon the revenue of these Inns. They had revenue; but of what kind was it? They were not a Corporation, nor did they hold it by any grant; yet they taxed the King's subjects to a great amount. No man could be called to the Bar without depositing a large sum of money, and paying certain fees, and about 21l. in stamp-duty. The King's Inn, in Dublin, had an income of 6,000l. or 8,000l. per annum. Being-obliged to allocate a portion of it to a particular purpose, they erected a crooked stone building, in which were some of the public offices, while one dining-hall was; reserved for the students. There was also attached a badly-arranged library. The Benchers who had the management of these affairs had taken upon themselves important public functions; and the manner in which they discharged them was a fit subject of inquiry. He could not see what opposition would be offered to the proposition for inquiry. It was demanded by the complaints which had been made;—it was demanded by the Report which was upon the Table;—it was demanded by the fact of unlimited and irresponsible power being vested in the hands of any body of men;—it was demanded, by the sacredness of individual character;—it was demanded by the fact of the body referred to being in the receipt of very considerable public revenue. All these considerations imperatively demanded, that an investigation should be entered into; and though prepared to enter into a detailed discussion of the different topics to which he had adverted, yet as he did not anticipate any serious opposition, or any lengthened discussion, he should content himself by simply submitting his Motion to the consideration of the House.

Sir James Scarlett

said, that, as the Motion did not appear to be founded in any general principle, it would be necessary for him to examine a little the various statements or charges made by the hon. and learned Mover of the Resolution. He should do so not so much with a view of preventing inquiry, as for the purpose of endeavouring to point out the foundation upon which inquiry ought to proceed, if inquiry should be thought necessary. The hon. and learned Gentleman had complained of the authority which he said the Benchers of the Inns of Court exercised over the admission of gentlemen to practise as special pleaders and as conveyancers. It was very true that, before any person could practise either as a special pleader or as a conveyancer, he must be admitted by some Inn of Court; but really the proceeding was so much a mere matter of form, in as far as the Benchers were concerned, that, upon their account, he as one of them, could have no objection to any change whatever. The present system was pursued under an Act of Parliament, which dictated the course to be taken. The chief, if not only, difficulty imposed was in the shape of certain stamp duties; and if it should please his noble friend at the head of the Exchequer to repeal those duties, he, as a Bencher, could have no objection; and, doubtless, gentlemen wishing to become conveyancers or special pleaders would be thankful for the change. The hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to think the practice op- pressive. He had never heard of more than one complaint with respect to it, and that was a complaint from the respectable practitioners of a neighbourhood, that a hedge lawyer had received his certificate, to the prejudice of the character of the profession. He certainly thought, that ample, if not too much, facility was given to the obtaining of the certificate, which the hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to think was to be gained only by the Benchers being benefited. In consequence of the complaint to which he had referred, most of the Courts had, he believed, adopted a rule requiring, that a party, on applying for a certificate to practise either as a conveyancer or a special pleader, should produce certain evidence of his respectability. But then it was asked, upon what authority did the Benchers of the Inns of Court interfere with the matter? He knew of none other than the Act of Parliament. It had pleased the Legislature to delegate that authority to the Benchers, and they exercised it in the way he had stated. As to the other parts of the Motion upon that point, he cared nothing for them. Another object of the Motion was, to institute an inquiry into the property of the Inns of Court. It was well known to those who had taken the trouble to make themselves acquainted with the subject, that these societies were voluntary, that their funds arose out of subscriptions or gifts from the different members, and that the property was as much private property as was the estate of any gentleman in the country. In saying this, however, he did not deny that that House had the power to institute an inquiry. Of course it had. It had also the power to institute an inquiry into the property of his noble friend (Lord Althorp) over the way, or of any other hon. Member; but he thought the experiment would be rather a dangerous one. That, however, was for the House to consider. He had only to state the fact as to the character of the property. The history of these societies was known to those who had taken an interest respecting their rise and early proceedings. They originated chiefly in a struggle between the Church and the gentry, and others anxious to cultivate the profession of the common law. For the purpose of establishing the study of the common law without the assistance of the Church those voluntary societies were formed; and they were countenanced and assisted at different times by the Crown. He would admit to the hon. and learned Gentleman that, in times long passed, the seminaries under those societies were numerous; but then it should be remembered that, in those days, the study of the law was commenced and pursued at a far earlier age than at present, so that law seminaries were not now so requisite as then. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman had asked upon what authority the Benchers of the Inns of Court took upon themselves the power of refusing to admit a person to the Bar? Why, Lord Mansfield had answered that question. The Benchers had the authority of the Judges. But it might be asked, where did the Judges get their authority? He did not know that any other answer could be given than that the practice was in consonance with that of every civilized nation. It was always held proper and advantageous to the community, that the Judges should have the power of regulating as to those who should practise before them. Whether that was a good or a bad practice he would not pretend to say. It was no part of the question before the House. If any hon. Member thought it a bad practice, let him bring in a Bill to alter it, and then he, as a Member of the House, should be prepared to discuss the matter. Certainly, in as far as he could speak upon experience the practice was attended with no inconvenience, but, on the contrary, effected much good. The case of attornies was somewhat different. By the Act of the Legislature that power was vested in the Judges under certain specified regulations. The Inns of Court, therefore, had nothing whatever to do with the admission of gentlemen as attornies. Now the hon. and learned Member had moved for a Committee of Inquiry, and he, therefore, contended that, in order to support his Motion, the hon. and learned Gentleman ought to have specifically stated the cases which rendered such inquiry necessary. He had, however, not done so. To two cases only had the hon. and learned Gentleman even alluded; the first was the case of Mr. Wooler. The hon. and learned Member stated that Mr. Wooler had been refused admission as a student on the ground that he was a hard-working printer. Now, if such were the fact, it might be a very good reason for bringing in a Bill to alter the present practice, but it was no reason for inquiry into the conduct of the Inns of Court, unless it could be shown that the Benchers in so deciding had abused their trust. But, according to his impression, the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman was incorrect. If he remembered rightly, Mr. Wooler was refused admittance, not because he was a hardworking printer, but because he had been twice convicted of publishing a seditious libel. [An Hon. Member: Only once]. That might be. He would not be positive, but he thought that Mr. Wooler had been twice convicted. He would not attempt to say whether the decision of the Benchers was right or wrong on abstract principle, but he would contend, that it afforded no ground for inquiry by that House. He understood that some of the Law Commissioners had thought, that Mr. Wooler ought to have been allowed the right of appeal; that in fact a person claiming admission as a student ought to be allowed the right of appeal, as well as a student claiming admission to the Bar. In the case of Mr. Wooler, however, it was thought that the Judges could not entertain an appeal, and for this reason: The Societies were not formed by the authority of the Judges or under any power delegated by them, and, therefore, they had not the right to say to those Societies, purely voluntary ones, whom they should or should not admit. If the House, however, thought that one case of this kind was sufficient to call for an alteration of the present system, let the proper means be taken to effect it. [Mr. O'Connell: Mr. Wooler was not, in fact, convicted at all.] He could tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that he himself was present in Court when Mr. Wooler was convicted. The Universities exercised a similar power as to the admission of students, and he had not heard that any objection had been taken to their authority. For his own part he had no objection to the right of appeal being given to the person wishing to become a student, but it would be for the House to consider whether it would legislate in such a matter upon a single case, and that case was of the description he had stated. In his opinion the facilities given for the entrance of students were already ample. All that was required in the great mass of cases was the security of two householders for the payment of the Commons, and the certificate of a Barrister, a member of the Court, as to the respectability of the party applying. In the Inn of Court to which he belonged there had been adopted a rule requiring that any person, before he was admitted a student, should give evidence that he was possessed of the rudiments of a liberal education. No deep or consummate knowledge was required, but it was deemed necessary that the applicant should be versed in the elements of those branches of liberal knowledge, the pursuit of which was considered absolutely essential to a fit and efficient discharge of the duties of a Barrister. Nor could he quit that point without stating, that this rule had been followed by the happiest effects. It was in the Middle Temple that it had been adopted, and that Inn had since its adoption risen very much in public estimation. Then as to the taxation of which the hon. and learned Gentleman had complained so heavily. These Societies did not profess to provide gratuitously eating and drinking for their members, and the students' attendance at Commons being a part of the discipline they had to go through, they were called upon to pay a proportion of the cost incurred. The Societies also had to provide for the payment of the preacher and for some other objects which could not be avoided, and the students, as members of the Societies, were called upon to pay their share, which was not, however, large. The Legislature had imposed upon every Gentleman requiring admission as an attorney, the payment of a Stamp-duty of 114l.; and the Inns of Court had thought that the students for the Bar should, even in a pecuniary point of qualification, be placed upon an equality with attornies. They had, therefore, required that every student on entering should deposit 100l., that sum to be returned on his being called to the Bar. In Commons the Societies were divided into messes, each consisting of four. The cost of the dinner for each mess to the Society was, he believed, about 16s., and each student was charged for his dinner 1s. 6d. Besides that sum he had a fee of 5l. to pay; but then he had the wine allowed without charge, and, therefore, he thought it something extraordinary for the hon. and learned Gentleman to talk of the Inns of Court raising money by taxation for their own benefit. With respect to the Stamp payable on admission to the Bar, with these the Inns of Court had nothing whatever to do. If the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) chose to remit them, the Benchers would make no objection. He then came to the second case which had been cited as a grievance. It was painful for him to have upon any occasion to make any observations in respect to that case; still he should always be prepared fully to state his opinion, and the grounds upon which that opinion was formed, whenever the case was distinctly and properly brought forward. At present such was not the fact. Indeed, he complained that such a case had been alluded to incidentally, and not in that clear and distinct manner in which it ought to have been brought forward, if investigation had been really intended. He would say this, that if the hon. member for Colchester, or any other hon. Member, thought that this case required inquiry at the hands of the House, the Benchers who had judged it, would be ready to furnish not merely a Report of their proceedings, but of every scrap of evidence adduced before them. The hon. member for Colchester would do him the justice to admit, that when he first brought forward his case, he had laboured to the best of his ability to secure for it a patient hearing. Personal feeling against the hon. Member he declared most seriously and solemnly he had none. But having stated this much, he was bound to resist going into the matter in an irregular and unsatisfactory manner. And what was the history of that case? It was complained, that the decision of the Benchers in 1822, of the Judges who had confirmed that decision, and that the subsequent decision of the nineteen Benchers recently, were wrong. Then why, he asked, did not any hon. Member entertaining such an opinion bring the case fairly and fully before the House? But let the House look at the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman. "What!" he exclaimed, "after the people of England have returned the hon. member for Colchester to this House six several times, shall the Benchers of an Inn of Court be allowed to say, that that hon. Member shall not be admitted to the Bar?" Now personal matters of this description were always painful, and he would gladly avoid them; but still he was bound, as his conduct in the execution of a public duty was called in question, to justify his proceedings. There were some in that House who were old enough to recollect the case of Colonel Cawthorne, who for several years represented the borough of Lancaster. Colonel Cawthorne was tried before a Court-martial, and convicted of suppressing marching billet-money. After his conviction the case was brought under the consideration of the House, and Colonel Cawthorne was expelled. The people of Lancaster, however, again elected him, and he sat subsequently to his expulsion for three Parliaments. Now no one would contend that the House had not acted with perfect propriety in expelling Colonel Cawthorne, because when elected he was not the criminal he was afterwards proved to be. Once expelled, however, the House had done its duty; and if the people of Lancaster chose to re-elect Colonel Cawthorne as their Representative they had a right to do so. But Colonel Cawthorne could never after his conviction have been admitted a Member of the Bar. Such a thing would have been impossible, and in fact, although Colonel Cawthorne was a student, he never applied to become a Barrister. He would not then go into the case of the hon. member for Colchester. He repeated that he would not go into the case, simply and plainly because it was not properly before the House. Let any hon. Member bring the case before the House, and he would be ready, point by point, to justify his decision as a Bencher of the Inn of Court. This much, however, he would say. The hon. and learned member for Dublin had said, that he had read the case, that he had considered it, and that he was decidedly of opinion that the decision come to was unjust. Now, he would assert, and with as much confidence as the hon. and learned Gentleman could by possibility assert anything, that there were not to be found in England nineteen Gentlemen actuated by the feelings of Gentlemen who would not concur in the decision come to by the Benchers in the case of the hon. member for Colchester. The hon. member for Colchester might succeed in persuading a Jury from Colchester to come to a different judgment. He might even succeed in persuading the hon. Member opposite who had presented a petition in his favour, but he would get no nineteen Gentlemen in the country to sustain this view. It was, however, upon these two cases that inquiry was called for. Would the House, then, sanction the Motion? Would it upon such grounds proceed in a course which had for its object to alter a system which had been long tried and was of much importance to the country. If such a proceeding were to be sanctioned upon such cases, they ought to be brought directly under investigation, and fully inquired into. With the exception of them he knew of no other Motion in which a person applying for admission had been refused. It was true that when he was a student Mr. Horne Tooke was rejected, but the ground was, that being in holy orders that Gentleman was not eligible for the Bar. [Mr. O'Connell denied, that Mr. Horne Tooke was in holy orders.] At all events Mr. Horne Tooke was the rector of Brentford. If, however, it were thought desirable the Judges should resume their authority he had no manner of objection. But he thought those functionaries had already quite sufficient to do without burthening them with an inquiry into every case of admission to the Bar. Certainly, it could not be said, that under the present system, a monopoly injurious to the public was preserved. He found in every Court an abundance of Barristers. There were, indeed, sufficient not merely for the practice of the profession, but also for filling a multitude of commissions and places of occupation of that description. He did not know whether in that House it would be considered as a matter of much importance to maintain the character of the Bar; but his own opinion was, that, as the most important duties were intrusted to Barristers, it was for the interest of the public, that care should be taken to confine the profession in as far as possible to men of strict honour, high integrity, and good education. Such was his feeling, and any attempt to break down or weaken the character of the Bar, he should ever consider as a great public injury. The hon. member for Colchester had published his case; and no complaint could be made of his having done so. Some men acted for themselves, and others were advised by their friends. Perhaps it would be always better if the advice was professional. He had not read the case published by the hon. member for Colchester, but he had seen some of those who had read it; and he must say, that their opinion was, that the hon. member for Colchester had better have said nothing about it. That case was heard in the year 1822. It was decided by the Benchers against the hon. Member, and that decision was confirmed by the Judges. Many years afterwards, when only four of the Benchers, who before tried it, were alive, and only two of the Judges, who had heard the appeal, were on the Bench, the hon. Member again brought his case forward. It was again heard by the Benchers, and nineteen of them unanimously decided in the same way as their predecessors had done. If that decision were not satisfactory, the hon. Member might appeal to the Judges. The Benchers were ready to give up every particle of the evidence to any competent tribunal. Indeed, when the hon. Member had expressed a desire to know the grounds of the decision, he had been furnished with a precise copy of the language of every Bencher, for the opinions were taken seriatim, and formally noted. Such, then, were the grounds upon which the hon. and learned Gentleman had framed his Motion, and he contended, that they were in no way adequate to justify it. If the present system were bad, let it be properly discussed and dealt with accordingly; but against the present Motion, he would divide the House, because it sought to do that by indirect means which ought to be done only on plain and direct proceeding.

Mr. Hill

supported the Motion. The principle in operation was bad, and, therefore, ought to be done away with. He denied, that Mr. Wooler had been convicted of a libel. His hon. and learned friend (Sir James Scarlett) was mistaken. The finding was such, that there could be no judgment upon it; and, in fact, there never was any. Mr. Wooler was convicted of sedition, in the case with Sir Charles Wolseley; but the case of Mr. Wooler proved, most undeniably, that the Benchers of the Inns might be influenced by political considerations in their decisions upon applications to be called to the Bar. The sole offence of which that gentleman could be accused, was the authorship of a certain political pamphlet; but, that in itself was sufficient to induce the Benchers to refuse his application for admission. But if the case of Mr. Wooler were not sufficient, that of Mr. Redhead Yorke placed the matter beyond the possibility of a doubt. Mr. Redhead Yorke had been convicted of a seditious libel, and the Bench of the Inn to which he belonged as student, at once rejected his application for admission to the Bar. That circumstance was, in itself, enough to prove that political considerations influenced the Benchers; but, in addition to it, he had to mention another still more convincing proof, namely, that on Mr. Redhead Yorke's doing what Mr. Wooler never would do—on his recanting publicly his liberal opinions—the same Bench who once rejected, subsequently granted his application, and he was accordingly called to the Bar. These were instances demonstrative of a bad principle, and, in his opinion, powerful arguments in favour of the reform which the hon. and learned member for Dublin contemplated. With respect to the case of the hon. member for Colchester, there was a point which he felt very anxious to ascertain. He wished to know whether, if the member for Colchester thought proper to appeal against the decision of the Benchers of the Inner Temple, would the Judges hear evidence, or would it be estopped by the Benchers' certificate.

Sir James Scarlett

said, that if there were any evidence to be adduced on the other side, the Judges would either hear or have it reported to them.

Mr. Hill

understood, it was estopped by the certificate. He did not support this Measure, for the purpose of inculpating the Benchers. He would guard against giving any opinion on the case of the hon. member for Colchester, as he was ignorant of the facts of the case, but he thought there was sufficient grounds on principle to support the Motion before the House. First, he objected to the secrecy of the trial, and the want of the controlling power of public opinion; next to the want of power in the party most interested, to enforce the attendance of witnesses. Again, no notice of the charge was given by which the party could prepare for his defence. The principle was bad, and he should, therefore, support the Motion for Inquiry.

Lord Althorp

said, the House must recollect, that the Motion before them was not for the introduction of any measure, but for the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry; and the question was, whether it were necessary to go into such a Committee. The Common Law Commissioners, in the Report to which the hon. and learned member for Dublin had referred, stated the objections to the present system; but the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that they did not point out the remedies. Now, it being quite clear, that the Law Commissioners were more likely, on a question of this nature, to have evidence which would enable them to arrive at a sound conclusion, than any Committee of that House could possibly have, the better course would be to bring in some measure founded on the Report of the Commissioners. The Commissioners might not go far enough in their recommendations; but if it were wished to go further, it was not necessary to have a Committee of Inquiry. The recommendations of the Commissioners were, "in the first place, that, either by Act of Parliament, or by authority of your Majesty in Council, the Societies be enjoined to allow, and the Judges of the Courts at Westminster to receive, an appeal from any Act of the Benchers of any Inn of Court, rejecting an application for admission into their society." But this was not all; for the Commissioners went on to say,—"It would be right, also, in our opinion, to establish, by way of positive regulation, that in all cases where an application is rejected, whether it relates to admission as a student or to the call to the Bar, the party applying shall have notice in writing of the cause of rejection, shall be allowed to clear himself from any charge of misconduct which it may involve, and for that purpose shall be at liberty to make his defence either in person or by Counsel, and to produce evidence; and that a full report of the whole evidence and other proceedings before the Benchers shall (in the event of an appeal) be laid before the Judges." The Commissioners, therefore, agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman in criticising the course which was adopted now, and, more than that, they recommended a specific remedy for the evil. Then he maintained, that it would be better to discuss the question upon the introduction of a measure, than to have a Committee of Inquiry to overhaul that which had already been made. Some hon. Gentlemen might not think, that the suggestions of the Commissioners went far enough; but if a measure were introduced upon the subject, grounded upon this Report, it would then be the proper time to propose any additions or alterations, which in Committee might be deemed to be necessary. With this view, then, so far from thinking that a Committee of Inquiry on the part of the House would afford more facilities than an actual measure, he thought that, after the Commission had been legally appointed, they ought not to go into a Committee of Inquiry of that House.

Mr. Lennard

said, he would not have troubled the House with any observations but for certain allusions made by an hon. and learned Gentleman. That hon. and learned Gentleman, indeed, had met this case with that astuteness which he believed was peculiar to the course which he had pursued through life; the hon. and learned Gentleman had met the question with much ingenuity. He had had the honour to present, in a former part of the evening, a petition bearing on this subject, the object of which was, not so much to call upon the House to make an inquiry into the case of the hon. member for Colchester as into the privileges of the Inns of Court. He begged to state, that neither the petitioners nor himself thought it necessary to enter into the circumstances of the case, not thinking that the House would feel it to be a proper subject for investigation. What was the power of the Benchers, who had rejected the application of the hon. Member for admission to the Bar, without stating the grounds upon which that refusal was made? Was it not a great hardship that a person in defending himself should not have the power to summon those witnesses who were necessary to his defence? The powers given to the Benchers were objectionable on four distinct grounds:—First, That they did not give reasons for their decision. Second, Because the defendant could not summon witnesses. Third, Because the witnesse were not sworn. And, Fourthly, Because the Benchers did not give to the Judges the full statement of all the facts given in evidence. In conclusion, the hon. Gentleman said, that his vote would depend upon the sort of Bill which was about to be introduced into the House. There were many evils to amend, but if a Bill were to be brought in to remedy those evils, and to give to the hon. member for Colchester the assurance, that the opportunity would be given to him (and to persons, in future, who might be similarly placed), the means of conducting their case—such a measure would satisfy him. With reference to the Benchers themselves, he had the honour of being known to Mr. Bickersteth—a gentleman who was universally respected—a gentleman, of whom he would say, he had never been the man to desert those liberal principles which he had in early life avowed.

Mr. Halcombe

said, that in a discussion like the present, he could not but feel a deep interest in a matter which concerned a professional brother. He had examined with great care and diligence into the case of the hon. member for Colchester, and he, therefore, could not remain silent, seeing that, he was perfectly convinced, that the hon. Gentleman had come out of the inquiry with honour to himself. There were two charges made. With reference to the first, it was perfectly evident, that the hon. Gentleman could have had no motive in purloining the document which had been declared to have been secreted by him. He had been at the mercy of a third party, and that individual was the father of his opponent's attorney. One of the charges which had been made against Mr. Harvey by the Benchers was, that he had submitted to a verdict, without seeking to obtain a new trial. But Sir Samuel Sheppard had often, and in various places declared his conviction, that not the least imputation rested on Mr. Harvey. It was stated, too, that the party which gave the strongest evidence against Mr. Harvey, had acknowledged, on his death-bed, that he had done that gentleman great injustice. Again, an agreement had been found amongst the papers of one of the witnesses upon his son taking possession of his office subsequently to his death, though a witness had sworn, that no such document was in existence. This averment, however, was in the hand-writing of his opponent. He had had conversation with many respectable persons, attornies and others, whom he could name, who were convinced, that upon the two chief charges particularly, the hon. Member stood entirely acquitted.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

said, his hon. and learned friend (Sir James Scarlett) had not spoken at all upon the case of Mr. Wooler, beyond saying, that Mr. Wooler was convicted of a libel. But his hon. and learned friend knew, that little value could be attached to a conviction for a seditious libel in those times. Here, then, was one case for inquiry, a case of gross injustice, and the other was that of the hon. member for Colchester. He did not mean to impeach the conduct of the Benchers of the Inner Temple, but the mode of conducting the inquiry, which he thought, must be anything but satisfactory even to themselves. He did not think, that he, as a man of honour, could have come to a satisfactory conclusion on the matter under such circumstances. The case immediately in question was one which was totally incredible. The only charge was respecting a sum of 500l., which had been said to have been withheld from a person whose estate had been sold; but it appeared, that when this money was rendered to the party, he refused to accept it, because, he said, he was not entitled to it. Now, a reason why he objected to following implicitly the recommendation of the Commissioners, who had inquired into the matter was, that some of them were themselves Benchers. The right to admission, he would say, should be the qualifications of the party seeking to be admitted, though there might be cases in which something else would be required. There might, however, be cases in which the refusal to admit persons to the Bar might arise from party feeling and local persecution. That would be gross injustice, and in the case of Mr. Wooler that injustice had been committed. He would contend, then, that the evil to be apprehended from this system, was much greater than that which would be likely to arise from admitting any person on the ground of his qualifications. The present system was more liable to abuse than any other which could be devised. This was a monstrous power. He wanted no other instance than those which had been quoted, to prove, that it was most absurd; and the only reason which was given for its adoption was the practice of the Universities. But he did not wish to take his authorities from the practice of the Universities, because they were conducted upon exclusive principles. He would say, that the person seeking to be admitted and refused, ought to have a public trial and examination. For these reasons, he thought, that the party refused admittance should have a mandamus to the Court of King's Bench given him, with the liberty of sustaining his case by Counsel; and with this, and this only, should he feel satisfied that justice would be done to all parties. If it were necessary to further the ends of justice by legislative provisions, he thought, that a Committee of that House would be worth a hundred other inquiries. The gentlemen of the law might, many [...]em, know the law better than the whole House put together; but, that House knew better how to correct the abuses of the law. Some remedy was required for this crying evil, and he would, therefore, vote for the Committee.

Dr. Lushington

said, that the sole question which the House were called upon to decide was, whether the Motion proposed by the hot), and learned Gentleman, the member for Dublin, was justified by the circumstances stated by him? Now, the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman was for a Committee to inquire into the practice of the Inns of Court in England and Ireland, with reference to the admission of students; and also to inquire into the revenues of each Inn, and the application thereof. He thought, that no reason whatever had been stated, for inquiry into the application of the revenues of each Inn. But a matter of infinitely greater importance for the House to consider was, whether upon such a Motion, the House should appoint a Committee to consider the practice of the Inns of Courts with respect to calling gentlemen to the Bar, with a view to make an alteration therein. He thought, that the case of the hon. member for Colchester had been most unjustly obtruded upon the House. It was an injustice to the hon. Member himself and to the House, because he was not aware that hon. Gentlemen had had an opportunity of entering into the merits of the case; and he begged, on his own part, to disclaim any observation upon it. He would not say, whether the Benchers of the Inner Temple were right or wrong; for he had not read the minutes of the evidence, and, therefore, could not, as a man of honour, pretend to give an opinion upon it. The hon. member for Dover had interposed, with the weight of his own opinion, that which he was justified in doing—but the hon. Member had added the weight of the opinion of others, which he was not justified in doing—namely, the weight of the opinion of certain un-named attornies. The hon. member for Colchester had two modes of proceeding open to him. First, he had the appeal to the twelve Judges; and, secondly, that course which had been recommended by the hon. and learned member for Norwich (Sir James Scarlett)—namely, to make a Motion for the production of the evidence. This, he apprehended, was not likely to be refused, and then the House would be enabled to come to the question, whether justice had been done or not. He maintained, that no gentleman, either in that House or out of doors, was capable of coming to a just decision upon the case of the hon. member for Colchester without having read the whole of the evidence in the case. God forbid, that he should say anything to prejudice or prevent an inquiry into the hon. Member's case; but he would again repeat, that no person was competent to enter upon that inquiry who had not read the evidence. Whatever might be his own opinions upon that point, he must say, that he differed altogether from the doctrines laid down by the hon. and learned member for Dover; and he must observe, that he could not take the opinions of that hon. and learned Member, though backed by those of the nameless attornies whom he had consulted, against the decision of the gentlemen to whom this case had been submitted. This was, perhaps, the only complaint which had been made against the Benchers of the Inns of Court. There certainly was the case of Mr. Wooler, who had been refused admission to the bar; but he would not take upon himself to say, whether that gentleman had been justly dealt with or not; it was sufficient for him to know, that in the course of a long series of years, only two such complaints had been made, to induce him to pause before he agreed to the course proposed to be followed. They knew, that learning, and talent, and ability, ought to be made tests for admission to the Bar. But he would say, these tests were not sufficient; the first, and most important qualifications ought to be, high character, a spotless reputation, unsullied integrity; these were the qualifications most requisite for a candidate for admission to the Bar. It had been urged, that a public trial of a man's talents and abilities was the best test of eligibility. He denied that it was. If there were to be examination, there must be some persons selected to decide, and who, he asked, were qualified to fill the office of Judges on that occasion? Who were most competent to protect the public interests, and, at the same time, support the character of the profession? Surely these trusts would be best reposed in the benchers of the Inns. If the question before the House were merely as to an inquiry with a view to the emendation of any abuses shown to exist, he would be the last man to oppose the Motion; but he must say, that an inquiry into the qualifications of students could be placed in no better hands than those who held the office of benchers. They were men of the first practice, men of acknowledged talents, and of unimpeached character. They consisted, too, of men of all parties. There were Radicals, High Tories, and Whigs amongst these Gentlemen with whom the decision on the case of the hon. member for Colchester rested. Amongst them were the hon. and learned member for Norwich, a Whig—[a laugh]. If the House had only permitted him to finish the sentence he was about to utter, there would have been no ground for that laugh. He knew, that his hon. and learned friend had been a Whig, and he was about to make allusion to that circumstance when he was stopped. But the whole of the parties were men of high honour and integrity, and incapable of being biassed by party feelings in such a case. From their decision, then, he felt it difficult to depart. When he found that the present system had existed for a series of years without blemish, and with advantage to the character of the profession, he felt that they ought to be slow in adopting any sweeping innovation. He agreed with the Report of the Common Law Commissioners recommending that, in all cases where an application was rejected, the party applying should have every facility allowed him of making his defence, either by himself or by Counsel, with the power of compelling the attendance of witnesses. He would go further, and say that where any dissatisfaction prevailed, he would allow an appeal to the twelve Judges. But there existed no grievance which could not be provided for by simple legislation. By this Motion they were called upon to enter upon a criminal inquiry into the practice of the Inns of Court in England, and Ireland, and into the appropriation of their revenues, although no accusation had been breathed against any of them as to the misappropriation of a single penny. Why was it that they were thus called upon to proceed as if there were before them prima facie evidence of the guilt of the parties? Why, the very inquiry would be an imputation upon those persons. He would again declare, upon his word of honour, that he had formed no opinion upon the particular case of the hon. member for Colchester. If that hon. Member had taken his case before the twelve Judges, and had been refused redress or even inquiry [Mr. Harvey said, he had not had the power to do so.]—if he had done this, then his case would stand upon much more favourable ground for inquiry than he considered it did at present, and he for one would vote for an investigation, and for the production of all papers and evidence necessary to its completion. But if they were to take such a course, in the name of God let them proceed regularly upon it.

Mr. Halcombe

, in explanation, said, he had been charged by the hon. and learned member for the Tower Hamlets with having intruded his opinion upon the House and with having based it on the opinions of certain nameless attornies whom he had consulted, in opposition to the opinions of the benchers who had decided upon the case of the hon. member for Colchester. He had only discharged his duty in delivering his opinion upon the case when it was brought before the House. The hon. and learned Member said, that none but those who had read the evidence could be competent to form a just opinion in the case; but if the hon. and learned Member had done him the honour to attend to what he said he would have learned that he (Mr. Halcombe) had read the evidence.

Sir Francis Vincent

thought, that sufficient had been said to justify the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry into the case of the hon. member for Colchester. Indeed he should like to have the inquiry extend to the whole objects of the Motion, because if these high functionaries had fallen off from the strict and impartial discharge of their duties, if they had sunk in the scale of social relations in society, it was time that they were restored to their original station. The hon. member for Norwich (Sir James Scarlett) had told them that the examinations of the law students were not severe. Perhaps not the inquiries, but it was in the power of these persons to prevent, by a certain line of examination any person from entering, against whom they entertained a prejudice. The examination, however, ought to be uniform and alike for all. It was not his intention to enter into the question of the funds of the Inns of Court, but he understood, that each bencher had, amongst Other things, a set of chambers worth a considerable sum, in which he might reside altogether if he pleased. He would give the Motion his warm support.

Mr. Pryme

said, that, with regard to the question before the House, he considered it one which, in every way, called for a Committee of Inquiry, that was its most proper shape. It should be considered, that that inquiry would open the avenues which led to the highest branches of that profession from which the judicial Bench was formed. With the hon. and learned Gentleman he thought that purity of conduct and character were more highly to be esteemed than mere talents. With regard to the purity of Benchers, and other officers alluded to, he would mention a circumstance which he had himself witnessed when at Lincoln's Inn some years ago. A gentleman was to be called to the Bar—there then existed a practice, a remnant of which only now remained, that of reading exercises to a barrister. On the occasion to which he alluded, the barrister recognised the face of the student as that of a person who had been tried and found guilty of libel. The exercise closed; and, upon inquiry, it was found that the student was the editor of a periodical publication, and had been convicted and imprisoned for libel. It was decided, that he should read no more exercises as he could not be admitted to the Bar. It turned out that the libel was a private, not a political one. But what was the result? The Benchers, those guardians of purity and public morals—those supporters of the Castlereagh factions, were applied to and inquired into the case. They directed the barristers to continue the exercises. They refused. What did the Benchers do then? They undertook to hear the exercises themselves; the consequence was, that the explanations of the student were listened to, and he was by the recommendation of the Benchers, called to the Bar. So much for the supporters of the purity and integrity of the profession. He considered that the Benchers forming, as they did, an irresponsible tribunal, was of itself sufficient ground upon which to institute the proposed inquiry.

Mr. O'Reilly

felt considerable difficulty in coming to a decision on the present occasion, inasmuch as he found the Motion of the hon. member for Dublin not only mixed up with, but founded upon, the case of Mr. D. W. Harvey. He was sorry the recommendation of the Report of the Common Law Commissioners did not go far enough. As the law now stood, an Irish law student must reside for two years in England and serve his terms, before he could be called to the Irish bar. This was felt as a hardship in Ireland; and if an inquiry was instituted at all, he thought it ought to go sufficiently far as to assimilate the practice in both countries, and place the whole system on a better foundation. In supporting the Motion he wished to guard against giving an opinion upon the case of Mr. Harvey, on which he had had no opportunity of coming to a correct conclusion.

Mr. Plumptre

expressed a hope, that the proposition of the hon. and learned member for Dublin would not be acceded to by that House; for, if carried to its full extent, interfering as it did with the property of the Inns of Court, and he saw nothing to limit it, it might have the effect of shaking the whole frame of society.

Sir Harry Verney

did not understand why an investigation into the private character of applicants for admission to the Bar should be deemed of more importance than an examination into the moral conduct of the Members of that House. He should vote for the Committee of Inquiry, because he was anxious to give the hon. member for Colchester the fullest opportunity of vindicating his character.

Mr. Shaw

, as a bencher of the King's Inns, at Dublin, might be permitted to express his surprise at the introduction of that society, as a sort of make-weight in the Motion of the hon. and learned (Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell); for, either in regard to the admission of students or of barristers, or of the application of the funds, there had not been even a suggestion of misconduct or impropriety made by the hon. and learned Gentleman against any Member of that body. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that there were considerable funds at their disposal, and some under Act of Parliament; that was true; but then the ground on which the Four Courts stood was their property, and they charged no rent to the public. They had also made over a portion of the land, and some buildings of the society for other public objects, and had then, under their consideration, proposals for a large expenditure of money, in order to promote the accommodation of the two legal professions, as well as of the public generally. The truth was, the professed and real object of the present Motion were not the same. The whole discussion had turned upon a mere personal question regarding the character and treatment of the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. Harvey); if, then, an inquiry into that subject was the real object, let a Motion be brought forward for that particular purpose, and the House could deal with it—but it would be a monstrous thing to consent to the present Motion for inquiring into the general practice of the several Inns of Court and the appropriation of their funds, without not only a primâ facie case having been made against them; but not even an allegation of improper conduct, or mal-administration of the funds committed to their charge.

Mr. O'Dwyer

supported the Motion for inquiry, and assured the House, that they would find amongst the benchers of Dublin a great neglect of duty; and he would add, that instances of peculation were not wanting. He had been credibly informed by a Gentleman, that one individual had appropriated to his own use a sum of 20,000l. He assured the House, that he had been so informed by respectable authority.

Mr. Shaw

There is not a word of truth in that story.

Mr. Lefroy

defended the character of the benchers of the King's Inns, Dublin, from the imputations cast upon them by the hon. member for Drogheda, and some other Members. He had been a bencher for some time, and he had never heard of a defalcation on the part of any of these persons to the amount of 20,000l., or any such sum, and he was pretty sure, that no such thing had taken place.

Mr. Lloyd

objected to the present system of calling to the Bar. There should be another and a better test of qualification than that which now existed. He admitted, that when improper persons were called to the Bar, public opinion acted upon them, and he believed there was no instance of any improper person called to the Bar having risen to any eminence in the profession. The best control on the admission to the Bar was public opinion; but that control was not exercised by the benchers. They exercised a capricious control, and, while they rejected some, admitted others whom they ought not to admit. On these grounds, he would vote for the inquiry. He would not enter into the case of the hon. member for Colchester, for he thought it was only incidental to the greater question.

Mr. Rolfe

would oppose the Motion, but not from any esprit du corps, or to uphold the irresponsible authority of the benchers. So far was he from defending that authority, that if no other individual should be found to undertake the task, he himself would bring in a Bill on the subject; but he did not think, that the inquiry should rest on one case of abuse; it should go to the whole question of the irresponsibility.

Mr. Sinclair

would vote for the Motion. He should wish to give the hon. member for Colchester an opportunity of vindicating his character.

Mr. Harvey

said, that he had been in that House for sixteen years, during which he had experienced how little chance any man had of receiving its courtesy, if he were unallied to one of the great parties within its walls, or to some of the great families without; but, however that might be, he was sure, they would not forget the feelings of honour or their sense of justice. To those feelings he appealed. He might, if he pleased, make out a case which would bespeak their sympathy, by showing them the losses he had sustained, and the way in which his prospects had been clouded; but he would not attempt anything of the kind. He would say to the House, as he had said by his counsel to the benchers, that he appealed to their justice, and to that alone. He would not claim for himself any exemption from the ordinary failings of human nature. He would admit, that he might have had his full share of the indiscretion of youth, or that he had not been free from the errors of more mature years, but as to the two instances on which so much stress had been laid in his case, he would say solemnly, that if the Acts of his life were to be done over again, he would repeat those two Acts without any scruple. He perfectly agreed in the statement, that the Motion was not one of merely a personal nature; but that it was a question of character, affecting the House of Commons itself. For nothing could be so monstrous, nothing was so insulting to that House, as to assert, than an individual who had been declared unfit to take a half-guinea fee at the Old Bailey Sessions, was yet fit to be a Legislator—was yet fit to hold the station which, in a free coun- try, was subordinate to no other. He had frequently expressed his willingness to refer all the circumstances of his case to any half-dozen Members of that House, who were free from professional bias or from the strong influence of party. He had offered to submit those circumstances to the right hon. Gentleman who had for so many years distinguished himself in the Chair of that House, to be determined solely by his decision; having the full confidence in that right hon. Gentleman's honour, which was shared by every individual Member of the House of Commons. He had offered to submit his case to the decision of the hon. and learned member for Kirkcudbright. He had offered to submit his case to the decision of the hon. and learned member for Edinburgh. He had selected those individuals, because they stood high in professional character, because they stood high in moral character, and because they were wholly unconnected either with the benchers or with himself. In fact, he cared not by what tribunal his cause should be tried, provided it were an honourable one. It was utterly impossible that the matter could rest where it did. The allegations in the speech of the hon. and learned member for Norwich were those of either sincerity or of slander. If of sincerity, let the House grant a Committee, that that sincerity might be established; if of slander, let the House grant a Committee, that that slander might be exposed. That he would so expose it he fearlessly asserted. He could entirely refute the charges of the hon. and learned Gentleman, who, by pursuing various devious paths, and by the abandonment of his principles, had raised himself to the station which he occupied in the world. If he (Mr. Harvey) had pursued the same course as the hon. and learned Gentleman had pursued, he should not be standing there to defend himself against the hon. and learned Gentleman's calumnies. He felt, however, that the question was now come to an issue. The hon. and learned member for the Tower Hamlets had stated, that he (Mr. Harvey) had a remedy against the decision of the benchers by an appeal to the Judges, and that, if he failed in obtaining their decision in his favour, it was not likely that he could make out his case before a Committee of the House of Commons. He had no doubt, that the hon. and learned Gentleman was sincere in his opinion. But when he spoke of any such appeal to the Judges being calculated to elicit the truth, nothing could be more delusive and fallacious. In Westminster Hall, the Judges sat in public, in the eyes of the whole nation; they had power to subpœna and examine witnesses on oath, and the circumstances of every case came to light. But their deliberations on such an appeal as the hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of was conducted in private. They had no right to subpœna and examine witnesses on oath, as the hon. and learned Gentleman supposed. They could see nothing to improve or censure in the system of which they formed so important a part. They sat in Serjeants' Inn Hall. They were brought together with difficulty, and their attendance was not compulsory. Who were the auditors on such an occasion? Only the accusers and the accused. When, on a former occasion, he had appealed to that tribunal, he had been attended by two distinguished persons, the one at present at the head of his profession, the other at the head of the Court of King's Bench. A great crowd had assembled in Serjeants' Inn Hall, but the first word that Lord Tenterden uttered was, that that was not a Court of Justice, and they must retire. Not three weeks before the elevation of the present Lord Chancellor to the Woolsack, he informed him, that he was engaged by a client in a case of as flagrant injustice as his had been, to attend before the Judges on the succeeding Monday at Serjeants' Inn Hall. He told Mr. Brougham, that his going was of no use, and reminded him of what had taken place in his own case. Mr. Brougham had forgotten the circumstance, but, on meeting him (Mr. Harvey) some days after, told him that he had been again unsuccessful. Now, what was this last case to which he had alluded? It was one of the most glaring injustice. It was that of a gentleman who had gone through all the forms necessary to qualify him for admission to the bar—had eaten his one-and-six-penny dinners to their full amount. But the benchers rejected him, on the ground that he was a foundling—that he was a tax-collector, and a receiver of money for the Foundling Hospital. The crime, then, of that individual was, that, being fatherless, he had raised himself by his own exertions to be considered trustworthy enough to receive the monies of that establishment in which he had been brought up. Why, if the being a receiver of rents was a valid objection, some of the most eminent men at the bar were receivers of rents for others. But the Judges who were to decide the appeal, held the objection of the benchers to be a very proper one, and they decided that the party appealing must give up his situation for one year before he could be called—that was, that he should relinquish his sources of income for that time, and become a beggar—in order to qualify himself for the society of gentlemen. What, he would ask, was the use of an appeal to the Judges? It was well known to every lawyer, that no witnesses could be examined on an appeal. Nothing was received but a statement in writing of the evidence that had before been produced. He had a great reverence for the Judges, but not when they sat in secret. Whenever there was secrecy, he always suspected deceit. It was, however, said, that the secret hearing was in kindness to him. It might be so, if he had sought it; but he sought for publicity, not because he wished to satisfy himself of his innocence: but that he might convince that House and the public of it. The hon. Gentleman then referred to the petition which had been presented from Essex, calling for inquiry into his case. That petition had been signed by 5,000 individuals, many of whom were opposed to him in politics, and he asked, whether the House would refuse their prayer. The House had heard what had been insinuated, and more than insinuated, by the hon. and learned member for Norwich. They must have seen from accounts in the newspapers of fees of 400l. given to the hon. and learned Gentleman, that he was a man of great tact and great cunning—one who could gloss over the truth and varnish falsehood. Now, what had that hon. and learned Gentleman said? If his remarks were not to go beyond those walls, it would hardly be necessary for him to remark on them; but because all that was said did go beyond the walls of that House, and was received with whatever weight attached to the individual who spoke, he felt it necessary to offer a few observations on what had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman on this occasion. The hon. and learned Gentleman had expressed his regret that he should be obliged to state his conviction, that the benchers had decided correctly in his case. The hon. and learned Gentleman had talked of his regret, that he should have been precluded from obtaining what he sought, and added a great deal more of the verbiage of unmeaning kindness. He told the House, that nineteen gentlemen had come to an unanimous decision on the case, and to express more strongly his conviction, he added, that any nineteen gentlemen in England would have come to the same conclusion. Now, what would the people out of doors say to that? His name was associated in the public mind with the Pension-list, and they would ask "Who is this Harvey—what is he?" And another would add, "Did you hear what Scarlett said of him the other evening?" The hon. and learned Gentleman, alluding to the possible choice of electors of an improper person as their Representative, mentioned the case of some individual who had stolen a guinea, but who was subsequently returned for Lancaster, but that he was not spoken to by any Member in the House. Why, if the hon. and learned Gentleman had received a fee of 400 guineas in the case, he could not have spoken more ingeniously for his purpose. Did ever man hear of such polished hypocrisy? The hon. and learned Gentleman had expressed his conviction, that he was properly excluded by the benchers. Now, it so happened, that he had seen a letter from that learned Gentleman addressed to his (Mr. Harvey's) father-in-law, who had been the active supporter of the hon. and learned Gentlemen in two unsuccessful contests for Lewes. In that letter the hon. and learned Gentleman said, alluding to the rejection by the benchers, "I am very sorry for it, but it should not have been so if I could have prevented it." He (Mr. Harvey) lost his own election in a contest subsequent to this, for it was his misfortune to be always jammed in between the two great parties. On one occasion he called on the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Scarlett) with a request that he would nominate him to the benchers for a call to the bar. The hon. and learned Gentleman expressed his willingness to do so, adding "I have seen enough of you in this House to make me think that you are fit to be called to the Bar: but I have heard some things at the benchers' table respecting you which may call for inquiry." He (Mr. Harvey) having ex- pressed his readiness to meet any inquiry of that kind, the hon. and learned Gentleman said—"Do you know Mr. Welsh, the treasurer? he is at the Pulteney Hotel, and has time to go into your case; go to him and give him my compliments, and when he has heard your case, ask him if he will second my nomination;" but, added the hon. and learned Gentleman, as he (Mr. Harvey) was going away, "Remember he is a good Whig," meaning to intimate, no doubt, that as the greater portion of the benchers were Tories, there was not much chance for him being nominated from that quarter. He did go to Mr. Welsh, who received him in the kindest manner, and having heard the whole case said, "Give my compliments to Mr. Scarlett, and tell him, that I shall feel great pleasure in seconding your nomination. I had made arrangements to go out of town, but I shall now remain in town for the purpose of seconding your nomination." That gentleman was present at the discussion which took place on his case, and he came out from it with tears in his eyes, and said, "Mr. Harvey, I cannot stand to listen to the injustice which is done to you. "This was the remark of the friend to whom the hon. and learned member for Norwich had recommended him to state his case. Was this injustice to be borne? He would tell the House, that he would not allow the question to stop where it was. It was impossible that he should, and he would tell the noble Lord, without meaning it disrespectfully, that if the House should refuse the present proposed inquiry, there was no occasion, whether of Pension-list or Supply, or any other question on which he could bring it forward, that he would not bring forward a Motion for a Committee to inquire into his case. He had a right to have his character examined, and if the imputations on it were unfounded, as he should be able to show they were, he had a right to a full acquittal. He would say, that if the Committee were appointed, and if they did not give him a full acquittal,—not a report which should gloss over his conduct as the result of youthful inexperience, or of an error in judgment of more mature years,—but a full, complete, and unanimous acquittal of the charges brought against him, he would pledge himself to have a writ moved for Colchester the next day, and to retire from that House. But he would not be put down by other means. See what had been the effect of the imputations made against him. Every man knew how to measure himself, and he would say, that he had as good a right to sit on the bench opposite (the Ministerial bench) as any one of those by whom it was now occupied, and, if any change of Ministry were to take place, he was as able and as willing to serve his Majesty on that bench as any of those who sat on it. What, he repeated, must be the effect of that decision? No man with such a stigma resting upon his character could or ought to hold any situation in that House or out of it. With a view to wipe away the stigma he demanded an inquiry, which was no more than he was entitled to. A Committee of Inquiry had been granted in the case of the hon. and learned member for Tipperary. When a charge was brought against that hon. and learned Member, it was admitted by the whole House to be due to the feelings of honour and justice to grant that hon. and learned Gentleman a Committee of Inquiry. He contended, that it was the same in his own case, and that it was due to the feelings of honour and justice to grant him a Committee of Inquiry. It was due to the character of the House itself. He was at present a member of a Committee of that House investigating circumstances which involved millions of money, and with what propriety could he sit in judgment in such a Committee while branded with such injurious, though unjust, imputations? He had sat in that House for sixteen years, and had expressed his opinions with frankness and with fairness, although, perhaps, not in a manner calculated to attract much sympathy in opinion with him; and he appealed to the House if, during that period, he had on any occasion conducted himself in a manner derogatory to the character of a Gentleman? These nineteen hon. men, however, had declared, that he was not fit for the society of Gentlemen. He should like very much to know what right Barristers had to arrogate an exclusive title to that character, and to deny it to Attornies? He was not aware that the character of Barristers in general stood so high. In conducting their causes, they frequently expressed their anxiety to keep persons out of the Court. The effect of that anxiety, however, was very unfortunate, for it so happened, that it was by following their advice that all their clients got into court. The moral character of an Attorney was of much more importance than that of a Barrister. The Barrister lived alone in his chambers, where he might commit what grossness or obscenity he chose, and had no direct communication with the individuals whose cause he was called upon to advocate. The Attorney, however, must be a man of delicacy and good conduct. He was consulted in private; he was intrusted with deeds and other valuable documents. So far, therefore, from assuming any superiority, Barristers ought to endeavour to bring their character up to a level with that of Attornies. The absurdity of compelling an Attorney who wished to be called to the Bar to pass a certain interval of time in perfect idleness was monstrous. Supposing an apothecary were prevailed upon by his friends to give up his one-horse chaise to obtain a diploma, and to keep a carriage, what would be said of a regulation which should prevent him from being admitted as a physician until he had suspended his medical practice long enough to forget all that he had known as an apothecary? An Attorney must have taken his name off the Rolls for three years before he could be permitted to enter with maiden coyness into the Courts, and become the rival of the practising Barristers. There was another reason why the noble Lord opposite ought to support him in his demand for an inquiry. The hon. and learned member for Norwich had declared, in his exceedingly kind speech, that there were not nineteen honourable men in the kingdom who, if they knew the facts of his case, would not decide against him. That was a libel on the Lord Chancellor of England, who acted as his Counsel on the occasion of his application to the Judges. He had complained of the hardship of his case to the Lord Chancellor, and asked whether he might refer any body to his Lordship on the subject. The answer was,—"The more the better. I think, Mr. Harvey, you have been cruelly treated." This was not mere verbal courtesy, for before Lord Brougham was Chancellor twenty-four hours, he sent for him, and said,—"Mr. Harvey, I wish to make you Secretary to the Charity Commission, not only because I consider you the fittest man for the situation, but also with a view to show my feeling as to the treatment you have received from the Benchers." He had a letter from Mr. Creevy to the same effect. The Lord Chancellor afterwards changed the appointment of Secretary to that of Solicitor to the Commission, and the noble Lord opposite concurred in the appointment. A letter was written, signed "E. Ellice," to Mr. Maule, Solicitor of the Treasury, stating, that the Lords of the Treasury had appointed Mr. Harvey to the situation of Solicitor to the Charity Commission, in the room of Mr. Hinde." That was the Chancellor's conduct towards a person whom no nineteen gentlemen could be found to acquit of the grave charges brought against him! Why did not he have the appointment? Because Mr. Maule expressed his opinion, that he (Mr. Harvey) was not a proper person to fill it, having been rejected by the Benchers. The hon. member for Norwich had said, that he was in favour of inquiry; that being the case, he called on him to support the Motion; but this the hon. Member dared not to do, because any honest and impartial men—any nineteen gentlemen, provided they were not Benchers of the Inner Temple—must fully acquit him, and reverse the decision. Subsequently to his rejection, he applied to be re-appointed an attorney, and those individuals, who had not the courage to oppose him publicly, called the attention of the Law Society to the notice relative to his re-admission, upon which the Committee of Attornies came to a unanimous decision, that there existed no reasonable objection to him. He would be content to abide by the decision of the three gentlemen he had named, or of any others; and if they decided against him, from that hour he pledged himself to resign his seat in the House. He held in his hand a letter signed by 296 individuals of high character (his constituents), who, having read the evidence from beginning to end, came to an unanimous decision in his favour. He doubted whether the hon. member for Norwich could have obtained such a testimonial at Lewes. The hon. Gentleman read the letter. It expressed their indignation at the flagrant oppression, the result of political and personal motives, of which he had been the victim; but the only effect of which had been to increase the number and attachment of his friends. The writers declared, that they considered the Resolutions of the Benchers to be of no weight; that they trusted an investigation of the case would be entered into by a Reformed Parliament; and that they felt grateful for the integrity and talent which he had evinced as their Representative. Why, it might be asked, knowing as he did the character and conduct of the Benchers,—why go before them, and again submit to their Star Chamber Inquiry? Because there was no other mode of making his case known. His object was publicity. He was aware, that, as far as regarded the Benchers, it was, "once excluded and excluded for ever:"—theirs was an irreversible decree. They desired to leave him no locus pœnitentiœ, no back door to escape from their condemnation,—their pains and penalties were to fall heavy on him,—were to brand his honour, and to ruin his character. No excuse they admitted,—no palliation they allowed. Surely, even if he had been guilty, they should have considered, that sympathy was due to youth,—that the faults alleged to have been committed were the faults of early life,—that they were redeemed by the practices of after years; and that charity and Christian benignity should have interposed between him and the stern mandates of their rules. His life had been one of active exertion; he had looked to the Senate of his country as the reward of his exertions; he had had the high honour of being a Member of Parliament for many years; his conduct had been before the world, and to the world's verdict he would look. Should the Benchers, then, shut their eyes to all that? Should they not have paused before they had sought wholly to ruin him? Age might have thrown the shield over the errors of youth. But he (Mr. Harvey) required not such mercy; he had done nothing which he was afraid or ashamed to avow,—nothing which he would not do again. His whole life he was anxious should be scanned; let every minute particular be surveyed; let him stand or fall by his acts; but let them alone be brought in judgment against him. Let him not be made the victim of accusations which he denied, of charges which were as monstrous as they were false. He besought hon. Gentlemen, no matter the hue of their party, no matter how they might be opposed to him, no matter upon what side of the House they sat, to do him justice, to adopt the benignity of Christianity, to obey the divine injunction, "to do unto others as they would wish to be done unto them." Let them, again, he would say, examine his conduct, let them do justice to him. By it they would be doing justice to themselves.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that if the inquiry could be gone into, he meant to withdraw that part of his Motion which related to the revenues of the inns of court.

The Solicitor General

said, that the hon. member for Colchester should have his assistance if the object were simply to remove the weight of any imputation that might attach to his character, but he objected to an attempt to do that indirectly which ought to be the ground of a substantive proceeding. Why did not the hon. and learned member for Dublin come down to the House, state the case of the hon. member for Colchester, and make a specific motion for inquiring into it? He was satisfied, that the House would not object to such a course, which was due alike to the hon. member for Colchester, and to the House itself. But he objected to the House going into an inquiry relative to certain establishments, not for the purpose of altering them, but in order to give the hon. Member an opportunity to bring forward his case incidentally. He was not surprised, that the hon. member for Colchester should have taken the present opportunity of making the statement he had addressed to the House—the hon. Member's feelings were perfectly natural—but he was rather surprised at the course some other hon. Members had pursued, more especially as the House knew nothing of the particulars of the case. It was true that there was a report on the Table, but the House had not the evidence of Mr. Harvey's case before it, and therefore was not in a situation to form any opinion on the subject. Why did not the hon. Member ask for a Committee to inquire into the circumstances of the case?

Mr. O'Connell

was ready to withdraw his Motion for the purpose of substituting a Resolution, "That it be referred to a Select Committee to inquire into all the circumstances attendant upon the rejection of the claims of Daniel Whittle Harvey, Esq., to be called to the Bar; and to report their opinion thereupon to the House."

Sir James Scarlett

rose to order. The hon. and learned Member could not bring on a Motion of which he had given no notice; more especially as the proposed resolution ought to have been preceded by a statement bringing the case before the House.

Mr. Jervis

said, that if there was any objection to the hon. Member withdrawing his original Motion, for the purpose of substituting the proposed Resolution in its stead, he would move the latter by way of amendment.

The Solicitor General

said, that he only meant to relieve the House from the consideration of extraneous matter, and bring it down to the point which was the proper subject for inquiry.

The Question on the Amendment having been put,

Lord Althorp

said, that he thought the original Motion very inconvenient, but with respect to the Amendment, after what had passed in the House, and feeling, as he must, that if the hon. member for Colchester claimed an inquiry at their hands, it was but justice to grant him the required investigation, he for one would not offer the least objection to it.

Sir James Scarlett

had no intention of opposing any inquiry which the hon. Member, or the House might desire, but he objected because no documents were before the House, and he thought it improper by a side wind to make the original Motion the means of investigating the case of the hon. member for Colchester. He was very far indeed from stating that the benchers shrunk from inquiry; in point of fact, he had stated the very reverse, and he said, that if any nineteen Gentlemen could be found to differ in opinion with the benchers, he should be ready to recant his error. If the hon. Gentleman chose to insist upon an inquiry, he for one was most ready and willing to grant it. The hon. Gentleman, however, ought not to make an ex-parte statement as the ground of inquiry, but either the hon. Gentleman or some friend of his should propose to have on the Table the report of the benchers to the Judges and other necessary documents. The hon. Gentleman had printed his own case, it was true. He had not read it, but the House would not think that a sufficient ground for inquiry. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to him in reference to a particular occasion. At that time the hon. Gentleman was an entire stranger to him, who only knew that the hon. Gentleman was connected by marriage with a gentle man with whom he (Sir James Scarlett) was acquainted at Lewes. From that gentleman he received a letter, requesting his assistance, with a view to promote the hon. Member's call to the Bar. With that request he cheerfully complied. The hon. Gentleman himself then told him of some objection that existed to his being called. He informed the hon. Gentleman that he knew nothing at all about it. The only occasion in which he knew anything of the hon. Gentleman before was in connexion with Sir Samuel Shepherd, to whom he (Sir James Scarlett) applied, at the hon. Genman's request, to make terms in reference to some prosecution, but he did not know the result. He stated to the hon. Gentleman that business would prevent him from interfering in the case himself; but he recommended him to Mr. Welsh, a gentleman of high honour, who was since dead, and he requested Mr. Welsh to do the hon. Gentleman all the service in his power. This Mr. Welsh did; and he gave the hon. Gentleman facilities for being heard out of term, in order to prevent him from sustaining injury, if rejected. The benchers heard the hon. Gentleman, and rejected him on his own statement. On that occasion Mr. Welsh felt himself obliged to vote against the hon. Gentleman's admission: in fact, the rejection was unanimous. The benchers, desiring to conciliate Mr. Harvey's feelings, communicated to the hon. Gentleman, through him (Sir James Scarlett), that if he chose to withdraw his application to be called to the Bar, the affair should be buried in silence. The hon. and learned Gentleman took a day or two to consider the offer, and then wrote, thanking him (Sir James Scarlett) for his kindness, but desiring the rejection to be put into such a form as might enable him to appeal to the Judges. This was done. He (Sir James Scarlett) desired his name to be put to the application, so as to give the hon. Gentleman an opportunity to appeal. There his connexion with the hon. Gentleman ended. When the hon. Gentleman appealed he had the advice of eminent counsel, and no doubt if it had been suggested that more evidence was necessary the Judges would have heard it. The Judges heard Mr. Brougham and Mr. Denman for the hon. Gentleman, and came to an unanimous resolution, confirming the decision of the Benchers, and thanking the Society of the Inner Temple for their care of the honour of the Bar. There ended the transaction, and in that situation it remained for several years. Afterwards the hon. Gentleman made an application for a rehearing. It was impossible to obtain a rehearing without the direction of the Judges. The hon. Gentleman applied for the consent of the Judges, and obtained an order for a rehearing, after all the Benchers but four who formerly investigated the case had perished, and when all the Judges but one who decided on his appeal were dead. The Benchers gave the hon. Gentleman a rehearing of many days, several hours each day, the hon. Gentleman being heard by himself, his counsel, and witnesses; and if they had come to a wrong decision he was sorry for it; but, on his conscience, and speaking to the best of his judgment and belief, he thought the decision right.

Mr. Harvey

had understood the hon. member for Norwich to say, that there were not nineteen gentlemen to be found who would not confirm the decision of the Benchers; now, however, he understood the hon. Gentleman to say, that he would be well pleased to recognize the decision of any nineteen gentlemen on the subject. He could bring plenty of persons to prove that they had heard Mr. Welsh say, he voted against the first decision of the Benchers; and he could also show, that another Bencher had expressed his disapprobation of it. So much for the alleged unanimity of the Benchers. The hon. Member said, that the Benchers' certificate went to the Judges with such evidence as was thought fit, and that he (Mr. Harvey) made no objection. How did the case stand? The certificate went to the Judges on Friday, and he had it on the Thursday evening, about six hours before the inquiry. What time had he to object? The certificate contained documents which the Benchers trumped up after the inquiry had terminated; and it contained other matters to which his attention was never called. The recent inquiry lasted nine nights, during which time there was he, with his witnesses in attendance, at an expense exceeding that of an election committee. The attendance of Benchers varied from nineteen to eleven. Some gentlemen were present only once—some twice; some went in and out from time to time; and such was the nature of the evidence and speeches, that some of the Benchers occasionally enjoyed a very sound sleep. These nineteen gentlemen had said, that they had not heard half the evidence. All they said was, that there appeared no "sufficient" reason. He had written a letter to them, in which he had asked to be merely informed on what particular his case was not satisfactory; but he had met with a refusal, and was told, that he might go to the Judges. Now, with respect to going to the Judges upon a question of this kind, he would read Mr. Chitty's opinion, who was a Barrister, and an eminent one. Mr. Chitty said,—"Although, in form, an appeal lies to the twelve Judges, two or three of them would be Benchers of the same Inn, so that the appeal, in substance, is ab eodem ad eundem, and no instance of a successful appeal can be adduced;"—so that there was no chance whatever. The hon. and learned Gentleman might say what he pleased about the unanimity of the Judges, but he wanted to be convinced of it,—the public wanted to know it. Instead of having a short-hand writer and taking the proceedings in bulk, if the reporters for the public papers had been admitted, the public would have read his case in detail, day after day; but the public would not read six days' proceedings together.

Sir James Scarlett

, in explanation, said, that he had stated originally, in answer to the hon. and learned member for Dublin, that it was a matter of opinion, but that he should be surprised if nineteen gentlemen differed upon the point. At the same time he was ready, if there was ground for it, to recant. With respect to Mr. Welsh, he repeated, that Mr. Welsh did vote against the hon. Gentleman.

The original Motion negatived, and the Amendment,—"That it be referred to a Select Committee to inquire into all the circumstances attending the rejection of the application of Daniel Whittle Harvey, Esq., to be called to the Bar, and that they report their opinion there upon to the House," was agreed to, and a Committee was appointed.

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