HC Deb 20 May 1835 vol 27 cc1268-83

On the question, that the House resolve itself into a Committee on the Lord's Day Observance Bill,

Mr. Hawes

rose for the purpose of moving that it be referred to a Select Committee up stairs. He felt that the subject was one of considerable importance, and regretted that any petition should have been presented on the subject calculated to produce any feeling of levity. He was inclined to admit, that some day should be set apart for rest, and that encouragement should be offered to the due observance of the Sabbath. When the hon. Baronet for Wigton (Sir A. Agnew) formerly introduced his measure on this subject, he called it a Bill for the protection of the poor. Certainly, when seen, it was found to deserve any- thing but that title, and the hon. Member for Shaftesbury, (Mr. Poulter) did not hesitate to oppose it, and to cast no little ridicule upon it. He must admit, that this Bill was of a much more moderate description, than the Bill of the hon. Baronet; the hon. Member who promoted it, professed that his object was, to put down Sunday trading, and for this purpose he had brought forward two Bills—one last year, and that now under consideration. The two did not percisely correspond, because in the present measure many important words were introduced: it was of a more formidable nature. It was proposed in it to punish every act of "ordinary trading" or dealing on the Lord's day; and the whole question, therefore, was, what was "ordinary trading?" Unless that were clearly made out, the objection originally made by the hon. Members for Shaftesbury to the Bill of the hon. Baronet would apply to his own Bill namely, that it left society at large to the tender mercies of informers. It seemed to him indeed that the informer was the only party who would receive encouragement and benefit; nor would the result be the better observance of the Sabbath. The hon. Baronet (Sir Andrew Agnew) objected to the reference of Bills of this kind to a Select Committee, for he had so stated in a pamphlet he had published; the hon. Baronet's reasons, indeed, were not very strong, and he was not without hopes that the hon. Baronet might change his mind; but at present it seemed that he disapproved of secret discussion in conclave upon the subject. He, on the contrary, saw considerable objection to public discussion on the measure. He did not think that the cause of religion was at all served either by the display of over-earnestness on the one side, or by the application of scoffs and taunts on the other. For this reason he held that a Select Committee to examine the Bill was the more proper course, as it gave all parties interested a means of being heard without causing public offence. The House was perhaps not aware that there were sixteen or seventeen statutes for the better observance of the Sabbath; they had been passed from time to time, from time to time they had been modified, and nearly all but those intended to give some exemption had become obsolete. Surely this was an argument for pausing and considering well the construction of a new Act of Parliament on the subject. He could not help thinking that his hon. Friend's (Mr. Poulter's) own argument, used upon occasion of the hon. Baronet's Bill, deserved considerable weight when he contended that a Committee ought to be appointed to prepare "a rational and truly religious measure, to give protection to every class of his Majesty's subjects in respect to the observance of the Lord's Day." From his hon. Friend, therefore, opposition to the amendment could hardly be expected. While he wished for no further legislation he could not deny the great interest taken in the subject by the country, and hence it was evident that at no distant period some Bill must pass into a law, and the principle of this measure having been sanctioned on the second reading, some means ought to be adopted honestly and fairly to make it a proper measure by defining the meaning of the words "ordinary trading." His hon. Friend (Mr. Poulter) had stated that his intention was only to shut up shops on the Lord's Day; but the words in his Bill went further, and went to put an end to all traffic. [Mr. Poulter No! No!] His hon. Friend might not really mean that, but he did not think there was a lawyer in the House who could show what ordinary trading was. It was impossible, therefore, to say to what extent the Bill went, nor, probably, could his hon. Friend inform the House. If his hon. Friend was afraid to face the ordeal of a Select Committee—if he could not define what his Bill was to effect, it was necessary that the Question should go before a Committee, where it could be fairly, fully, and honestly discussed, where it could be ascertained what was meant by ordinary trading—what it was proper to touch, and what to leave untouched. If his hon. Friend would consent to that tribunal, he, for one, would give his hon. Friend his best assistance. If no clear definition was to be given, so that the practical effect of the measure could be judged of, he, should feel it his duty to oppose it on every opportunity. One point ought to be kept in mind by the House, viz., that it was admitted on competent authority that there had been a gradual and progressive improvement in the morals of the people, and that Sunday was now better observed than at any former period. This fact had been avowed by the hon. Baronet (Sir A. Agnew) on presenting a petition with the sentiments of which he declared his concurrence. Dr. Pye Smith had made a similar declaration in a celebrated sermon, and, if necessary, other authorities to the same effect might be quoted. What he wished was, that this improvement should be allowed to proceed without legislation. No Act of Parliament could operate so effectually as good example. He would not farther occupy the time of the House, but would move as an Amendment that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.

Mr. Potter

seconded the Amendment, after the Bill had been supported by a majority of the House on its second reading, it was not fit to throw it out without due consideration, and that consideration could be best given in a Committee upstairs. He knew that several Members had Amendments to propose which would create discussion, and might throw a certain degree of ridicule upon the Measure. He understood that the hon. Baronet intended to oppose the Amendment, because he thought that public discussion was useful; but surely it was a disadvantage that a question of this sort should be treated with any want of decorum. It was one great error of the Bill, that it attacked only the lower and middling classes. Such was the case with the Measure of the hon. Baronet, which went the length, however, in one clause, of preventing travelling on Sunday. He (Mr. Potter) wished to know why the hon. Baronet had not attempted to stop the mail; why, too, had he not endeavoured to shut up the Zoological Gardens on Sunday, as well as Hyde-park? The reason seemed obvious—that it would infringe upon the luxuries of the higher orders—the Members of the two Houses of Parliament.

Mr. Poulter

trusted, that the House would support him in his resistance to a most unreasonable proposition, proceeding from no other desire than that of obstructing, delaying, and defeating a moderate measure, which had been approved of by a large majority on the second reading. If it had at all resembled the Bill introduced by the hon. Baronet (Sir A. Agnew), there would have been ground for referring it to a select Committee. If it had contained numerous and extensive clauses—if it had attacked large classes of the people—if it had imposed heavy, various, and complicated penalties, it would have been quite proper that it should undergo a revision of the kind; but small as it appeared, it was in fact smaller than it seemed, for the whole enactment occupied but six lines, and if it were referred to a Select Committee, there would not be half a line for the consideration of each Member. He sincerely believed that if the Bill were allowed to pass in something like its present shape, it might justly be called The Poor Man's Bill. At all events it would secure to him one day in the week as a day of repose, peace and instruction. He trusted that the House, having already given its support to the principle of the Bill, would not desert it on the present occasion. It was his intention in Committee to introduce further exceptions into the Bill, and to provide for the just recreation and refreshment of the poor, who on Sundays, after attending Divine Service, might feel disposed to walk to some distance from their habitations. With that view it was his intention to provide for the sale of fruit and confectionary on the Sabbath-day; but he believed that the suppression of shop-keeping and ordinary trading on that day, instead of being an inconvenience or a disadvantage, would be attended with very considerable benefit to the poor. [Upon this point the hon. Gentleman quoted the testimony of several tradesmen, to shew that the purchase of necessaries on the Sunday Morning, instead of the Saturday evening, was a decided disadvantage to poor persons.] In point of fact, the simple question involved in the Measure was, not whether the penalties should be provided to prevent the recreation of certain classes of the community, but whether common marketing on Sundays ought not to be abolished.

Mr. Hume

could not understand, if the Measure were good what possible objection the hon. Gentleman could have to referring it to a Select Committee. If its provisions were found reasonable, surely a little closer examination of them would not subject them to any danger. The hon. Gentleman had said, that the Bill, as it now stood, would not interfere with the interests of any class of the community; but he (Mr. Hume) had been assured by the market-gardeners in the neighbourhood of London, that if such a Bill were allowed to pass it would be utter ruin to them; because it was perfectly impossible for them to provide for the supply of the Monday's market, without violating in some degree the sanctity and repose of Sunday.

Mr. Cobbett

wished to know whether, in the exceptions which the hon. Gentleman said it was his intention in Committee to insert in the Bill, he meant to include persons who sold cakes and fruit by the road-side? There were thousands of industrious persons who obtained their living in that manner; and he begged to know whether they were to be protected.

Sir Andrew Agnew

could see no other object in the proposition for referring the Bill to a Select Committee than the allowing the Gentlemen who might compose that Committee an opportunity of indulging in scoffs and taunts. He for one could not regard the provisions of the Bill as of too stringent a nature: on the contrary, he feared, if it were allowed to pass in its present shape, it would fail of producing the desired effect.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was at a loss to conceive what possible benefit could result from the adoption of the hon. Member for Lambeth's Motion. The Bill had already been read a second time, its principle had been fully recognized by the House, and now in the regular order of things its details came to be considered in Committee. What advantage (unless delay were to be regarded as an advantage) could possibly attend its being referred to a Select Committee, remained for the hon. Member for Lambeth to prove. When the Bill went into Committee it would be open to any hon. Gentleman to object to any of its provisions, or, if he thought fit, to propose new ones.

Mr. Warburton

thought that the adoption of such a Bill as the present would tend to bring all legislation upon the subject into disrespect. The hon. Member for Shaftesbury (Mr. Poulter) admitted that he had several amendments himself to make in the Bill; then why not give to all whose interests might be affected by the Bill an opportunity of stating their case before a Select Committee? The Report was not a fit one for consideration in a Committee of the whole House, because the exceptions to be proposed were completely matters of detail. As the Bill now stood, he (Mr. Warburton) was persuaded that all places of refreshment would fall within the provision of its penal clauses; and therefore, if passed in its present shape, it would, in the course of a very short time, become a positive dead letter.

Sir Robert Peel

said, I confess that I always listen to discussions on this subject with great concern. There is no man in the House who attaches greater importance than I do to the proper keeping of the Sabbath-day. I think no one has a right to shock the public feeling by desecrating the Sabbath-day; but at the same time, I entertain very serious doubts as to whether we shall promote that object by legislation, and whether it will not be better to trust to the influence of manners and the increase of morality, for the purpose of checking, by public opinion, the attempt at profanation of the Sabbath, than to have recourse to new laws which I fear in themselves would be difficult of execution; and which, as they might be perverted to purposes of annoyance to individuals, would tend to bring the law itself into disrespect. I confess, judging from my own experience, I should say that you might safely trust to the influence of manners. I should say, that comparing, even within my own short experience, the observance of the Sabbath with what I have witnessed, and certainly with what I have read, making this comparison I should say, that without the interference of any new law the Sabbath-day is now much better observed than was the case formerly. If that effect has taken place nothing would be more easy than to show that you owe that consequence, that good effect of the influence of manners, to the influence of public opinion and not to legislation. Because I will undertake to prove, to the satisfaction of any man, that the enactments now on the Statute-book, are not, and have not been, observed. Of this I am perfectly satisfied, that you have only one of two alternatives—either to leave the law in its present state, and not to touch it, or, if you do touch it, to simplify and consolidate it, and to let the public know what the law really is with respect to the desecration of the Sabbath. Now, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Shaftesbury is about to take a third course, which I think very unnecessary. The law of Charles 2nd, is now in operation; it is on the Statute-book, but practically it is not observed; but the hon. Gentleman is about to pass a Bill which assumes the existence and operative effect of that law. The hon. Gentleman's Bill is entitled, "A Bill to amend and render more effectual the statute 29th Charles 2nd.;" but the provisions of the Bill are totally at variance with its title, for the hon. Gentleman does not attempt to enforce the Statute of Charles. He does not attempt to make the Statute of Charles more effectual, but he selects one particular offence contemplated by that Statute, and makes that one particular offence more penal. The hon. Gentleman says nothing of the other offences specified in the Statute of Charles; and consequently, when you have this Bill passed, you must still refer to the Statute of Charles, to explain to you what the law really is. The hon. Gentleman says, there is no occasion to consider the Bill with any great anxiety, or to discuss it at any great length, because all the enacting part of it is comprised within six lines. That may be very true; the Bill itself may no exceed six lines, and yet it may be very important. For instance, you may say that there shall be no drinking on the Sabbath-day, and that provision, if you like, may be comprised within a single line; but still every one would be aware that the provision though short was of a most sweeping and comprehensive nature, and that it would be necessary to look with great jealousy and apprehension to the practical consequences that might ensue from it. I will prove to the hon. Gentleman, that in carrying his Bill into effect it will be constantly necessary to refer to the Statute of Charles 2nd. One of the offences under the Statute of Charles is the letting out a boat for hire on Sunday. [Mr. Poulter: That clause has been repealed.] But how are the people to know that? The hon. Gentleman founds his measure upon the Statute of Charles—calls it a measure for enforcing and rendering more effectual the Statute of Charles, and then, when one of the very first offences specified in the Statute of Charles is mentioned, he gets up and tells us that other Bills have since passed by which the penalties upon several offences enumerated and provided for in the Statute of Charles have been repealed. How, then, is the hon. Gentleman's Bill to be understood? The Statute of Charles, in the next place, provides that no "drover, waggoner, butcher, &c, shall travel or come into any inn or lodging on the Sabbath-day, under the penalty of 20s." Is that a part of the hon. Gentleman's Bill? [Mr. Poulter: No.] But is not the dealing with these persons part of the Bill? I was at first inclined to support the proposition of the hon. Member for Lambeth, for referring the Bill to a Select Committee; but, upon further consideration, I think it would be infinitely better for the House of Commons to meet the Report fairly, and to defeat it upon principle. If it should be the opinion of the House that it is dangerous, that we may defeat our own objects by legislating on the Report, surely it would be better, rather than to create a vexatious delay, by referring it to a Select Committee, when a Report may be made at such a late period in the Session as to prevent the possibility of any effectual progress being afterwards made—rather than to adopt that course, surely it would be better to act upon the suggestion I now make. I am opposed to the proposition for referring the Bill to a Select Committee, because some Gentlemen might think that an indirect mode of defeat. I am, therefore, prepared to go into Committee this evening, and to allow the hon. Gentleman to make the Bill as perfect as he can; and when he has taken that course, I shall call upon him either to drop the Bill altogether, or to leave the law as he found it, and to trust to the continued operation of manners to enforce the observance of the Sabbath. That I confess is the bearing of my own mind. I confess I do see enormous difficulties in trying to carry this Bill into effect. The Statute of Charles 2nd attempted to prevent travelling of all descriptions on the Sabbath, as well by the ordinary means of land carriage as by boats? Why is that abandoned in the present Bill? If it be wrong for the humbler classes to travel by steam to Richmond on Sunday, surely it must be equally wrong for us to be travelling in our carriages on the same day. I do believe that the rich are the greater offenders, but we ought not to make laws which practically inflict very unequal restrictions on different classes. If we interfere with the innocent recreations of the poor, such as mere locomotion, we shall do much harm. Enactments of such a description tend only to create disunion between the richer and the lower classes, because the restrictions which they provide apply principally to the latter. To any law proceeding upon that principle I must decidedly object. If you legislate upon the subject at all it ought to be impartially: the restrictions you provide should apply equally to all classes. The hon. Gentleman, the Member for Shaftesbury, despairing to make the Statute of Charles 2nd efficient upon the two points I have enumerated, takes another point and endeavours to make it more stringent than it was originally intended to be. Then I say he ought to repeal all the rest of the Statute. He should either leave the law as it is, or else make it more simple and plain. That is not the hon. Gentleman's object. But considering the pains and trouble to which the hon. Gentleman has gone, no doubt with the best motives, I shall not throw any impediments in his way on the present occasion; but I shall reserve to myself the right—when the hon. Gentleman has reduced the Bill to as perfect a shape as he can, either of calling upon the House to reject the Bill altogether, or, if the House be determined to legislate upon the subject, then to require that we should so consolidate the laws, as that the public may understand what is an offence against the law and what is not.

Mr. Tulk

said, that if he thought this Bill was either intended or calculated to render more stringent that detestable Statute of Charles the Second, it should not have his vote: but it was because he considered it calculated to afford to the poor man that freedom from labour and that opportunity to partake of innocent recreations which he required on the Sabbath-day, that he should give it his support.

Mr. Robinson

thought as the principle of the Bill had been adopted already by the House, it would be hard on the hon. Member, who had bestowed so much pains upon it, not to allow it to go into Committee. The whole of the observations of the right hon. Baronet would have been much more appropriate if they had been made on the second reading of the Bill.

Mr. Hawes

agreed to withdraw his Amendment, and would take the sense of the House upon the Question on the bringing up of the Report.

The Attorney-General

expressed his entire concurrence in the view which the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had taken on the subject, which he conceived to be one wholly unfit for legislation.

Mr. Goulburn

intended to vote for the Bill going into Committee of the whole House; and trusted that whatever amendments were introduced might, on the one hand, remove all just causes of complaint made against any overstrained enforcement of the law of Charles the Second, and, on the other hand, be equally effectual to prevent that great and crying evil which had grown up very much of late years—that of Sunday trading.

The House went into Committee on the Bill.

Mr. Poulter

proposed to introduce the words "in an open shop," in order to obviate the objections which had been made to the Bill by the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel)

Sir Robert Peel

wished to know what was meant by the words "in an open shop?" Did it mean selling at a stall, or not? It was material to be very definite upon this point; because the people would regard this Bill as the latest legislative declaration on the subject; and if selling at a stall was not to be included under the terms "open shop," then instead of putting an end to trading on the Sabbath-day, the effect of the Bill would be to make that trading be carried on more publicly than ever, inasmuch as a stall was more open than a shop. The hon. Member excluded the sale of animals on the Sabbath; but if the words "open shop" did not mean a stall, there would be an inconsistency in the Bill, for animals were always sold openly, and not in shops. If, therefore, it were legal to sell at a stall, it would also be legal to sell cattle on the Sabbath-day.

Mr. Poulter

said the word "Animals" was intended to prevent the sale of cattle in any way. He regretted that he had not heard the objections of the right hon. Baronet before, as he confessed he was at this moment unprepared to meet them. He thought, however, that means might be devised to obviate those objections. The words "in any open, shop or stall" might have that effect.

Mr. Hawes

asked whether the hon. Gentleman meant to put down coffee-shops and the sale of newspapers on the Sabbath-day?

Mr. Poulter

thought that coffee-shops ought not to be excepted out of the operation of this Bill. With respect to the sale of newspapers, certainly, as the Bill was at present framed, such sale would fall within the scope of its provisions. But it was competent for any hon. Mem- ber to propose an exception of newspapers from the operation of the Act, and the House would deal with such a proposition as it thought proper.

Sir A. Agnew

said, that as regarded the sale of newspapers, he begged to remind the Committee that the newsvenders had petitioned the House to put down the sale of newspapers on Sundays.

Mr. O'Connell

deprecated all legislation on this subject. Piety was not to be enforced by Act of Parliament. It flourished most when left to the free operation of higher motives than the fear of legal pains and penalties.

Sir Harry Verner

expressed his hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman would not give up the Bill. In his opinion it was a most sensible one, and would produce the beneficial result of rendering certain laws which are now practically inoperative effective.

Mr. Thomas Duncombe

hoped, that coffee-houses would not be closed on Sunday by the act of that House, as there were a very numerous class of young men, attorneys' clerks, and so forth, who were unable to obtain their dinners at any other places.

The Attorney-General

entreated the Committee to recollect that after what had already taken place the present discussion was a mere waste of time. He hoped they would allow the Bill to go through the Committee pro forma, with a view to its being afterwards recommitted.

Mr. T. Duncombe

presumed, then, that they were only suggesting heads for some amended Bill to the hon. Member. He would suggest one himself—namely, that shell-fish sellers should be excluded from the operation of the measure.

Mr. Potter

would beg to make another suggestion. The 29th of Charles 2nd prohibited the sale of flowers, fruits, and herbs, on Sunday; as many persons had a great taste for flowers, and as it was one of a most innocent description, he should propose a clause lo exempt flowers, fruits, herbs, confectionary, soda water, and ginger beer from the operation of the measure.

Mr. Roebuck

would equalise the law, so as to affect the rich as well as the poor. If public carriages were to be stopped on a Sunday, so should private vehicles; public carriages afforded comfort and means of conveyance to a greater number of persons than private, and yet employed fewer labourers. If a poor man, pent up all the week, was to be debarred from an excursion to the country for his health on a Sunday in a hired vehicle, why should the rich man, who was free every day in the week, have a license for driving about on that day, and keeping a retinue of servants employed about him and his horses? He respected the morals of the poor, and he did not see why servants, who could not with impunity take a jaunt on a Sunday, be employed in rubbing down the horses of their masters on that day; nor did he see, if the rigid observance of the Sabbath were a matter of such imperative duty as to exclude all kinds of labour, why lordly Bishops should ride to Church in coaches, and compel their servants to work, and violate that observance.

Mr. G. F. Young

called the hon. Member to order. If he were not about to give notice of an amendment he should not enter into such a discussion.

Mr. Roebuck

said the hon. Member (Mr. Young) was in the habit of lecturing persons. But it would be well if his reprimands were more guided by judgement and discretion. He (Mr. Roebuck) would contend that the Bill was a punishment to the poor, and a perfect indemnity to the rich. If a rich man gave a dinner to twenty different persons on a Sunday, as was often the case, all these would have their coachmen, footmen, and grooms employed to attend; see then how many would be required to violate the Sabbath, in order to minister to the pleasures of a few. Yet a poor man, who had not a kitchen fire, or utensils to dress his breakfast or dinner, would be prevented from going to a coffee-shop or cook-shop on that day to get necessary food. Last year, when a similar Bill was before that House, a body of mechanics called on him, said they desirous of being orderly and hurting nobody, but if the House of Commons passed such a Bill, and showed such carelessness about their wants and and comforts, they would declare their feelings by openly breaking the Sabbath, for they would assemble in a body of 100,000, and dance and play.

Mr. G. F. Young

denied that he used a dictatorial term to the hon. Member, and surely the hon. Member was not exactly the person to charge any one with assuming too much, or with want of judgement, modesty, or discretion.

Mr. Ewart

also opposed the Bill; which, by its operation in Liverpool alone, would prevent the transmission of newspapers to the whole of North and South America by vessels that sailed on a Sunday. He entreated the hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw the measure, and extricate himself from the legislative morass in which he was now plunged.

Mr. Charles Buller

said, that the only refreshments the hon. Member allowed the public to procure on Sunday, were medicines. He would not allow work for gain on Sunday. Now, his Bill would allow the rich to work for gain on that day; for the rich lawyers might carry on their chamber practice on that day—and these lawyers might be employed on that day in preparing a case for prosecuting the poor violators of it. Not only the lawyers, but the attorneys and their clerks might be safely employed on that day. So, then, a poor man was to be punished for buying or selling a halfpenny-worth of meal on a Sunday, and the Solicitor or Attorney-General, his attorneys, and their clerks might be safely engaged in preparing a prosecution against him, an occupation that the community might not think quite so innocent.

Mr. Maclean

expressed his concurrence in the opinion, that if they interfered unnecessarily with the amusements of the people, they would take a pleasure in breaking, and make a point of breaking, the law. He was not aware that there was any foundation for the charge which had been made against the members of the legal profession. When the hon. Gentleman had reached that exalted legal station to which he no doubt very properly aspired, he would have an opportunity of resisting the temptation and refuting the accusation in his own person.

Mr. Baines

had never heard a discussion in that House which he thought would prove so offensive to the public, from the tone of levity with which the subject had been discussed. He hoped the hon. Member would persevere with the Bill, and that his perseverance would be crowned with success.

Mr. Hawes

, having commenced the discussion, indignantly repelled the accusation of the hon. Gentleman. It was rather too much for that hon. Gentleman to take upon himself to impeach the conduct of that House and of individuals who had as good a right as himself to express their opinions, even though they did so n a manner unpalatable to him.

Mr. O'Connell

participated entirely in the feelings expressed by the hon. Member for Leeds, as to the propriety of their respecting the sentiments of their constituents, and certainly a lecture upon that subject came particularly well from the hon. Member for St. Andrew's. It was on that account he had made a grave, speech, because his constituents were fond of a hearty laugh. In his opinion there was a species of gravity more injurious and more contemptuous than any laughter; for it was upon that that persecution was founded. The best way to meet bigotry was by turning it into ridicule. The Inquisition was introduced in other countries under the mask of seriousness, and God forbid that under the same pretence persecution should be attempted in this country. The time was gone by when they could attempt to institute piety by Act of Parliament. After all that had been said, he would ask the hon. Member if he thought he could ever pass his Bill through a British House of Commons? He most sincerely hoped that they should never hear more of it. There was a question lately before Lord Jeffery as to whether a barber's boy was obliged to shave his master's customers upon Sunday, and the Scotch Courts had given as their judgement that he was not obliged to shave.

Mr. Andrew Johnston

having been pointedly alluded to by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, begged the indulgence of the House while he, in a few words, explained the situation in which he had been placed. It was quite true that a considerable number of his constituents were not pleased at the vote which he had given in opposition to Lord J. Russell's motion on the Irish Church, and had called upon him upon that account to resign his seat as their Representative. In these circumstances, not trusting to his own judgment in a matter so personal, he determined upon taking the advice of those in whose opinion he himself as well as his constituents felt confidence. He accordingly laid a statement of his case before Lord John Russell, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, and put the question to those Gentlemen, whether in the circumstances he was bound to resign. The noble Lord and the two gentlemen whom he had named gave it as their joint opinion that he was not bound to resign, and it was on their judgment thus given that he had the honour of continuing to hold a seat in that House.

Various Amendments were agreed to, and the House resumed.